Friday, October 4, 2013
Too bad I didn't have this information from today's Wall Street Journal to add to my arsenal of reasons of why I think the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals SEC disclosure is a well-intentioned but bad law to address rape, forced labor, plundering of villages, murder, and exploitation of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I won’t reiterate the reasons I outlined in my two-part blog post a couple of weeks ago. According to press reports, while acknowledging her responsibility to uphold the law, SEC Chair Mary Jo White mirrored some of the arguments about discretion that business groups and our amicus brief raised on appeal to the DC Circuit, and further explained, “seeking to improve safety in mines for workers or to end horrible human rights atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are compelling objectives, which, as a citizen, I wholeheartedly share … [b]ut, as the Chair of the SEC, I must question, as a policy matter, using the federal securities laws and the SEC’s powers of mandatory disclosure to accomplish these goals.” I couldn’t agree more. While I have no problems with appropriate and relevant disclosure, corporate responsibility, and due diligence related to human rights, Congress should let the SEC focus on its mission of protecting investors, maintaining efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation.
The text of her speech at Fordham Law School where she made these remarks and others about the need for agency independence and discretion is available here.