Revenue Watch and philanthropist George Soros praise congressional action

WASHINGTON, D.C.— With final approval of sweeping financial reforms today in Congress, the United States has taken a leading role in ensuring energy industry transparency and giving investors and citizens new tools to hold companies and governments accountable for their actions.

« The provisions in the new law for oil, gas and mining companies to report their payments to governments are the culmination of a long campaign by Revenue Watch and the Publish What You Pay coalition to make extractive industry activities truly transparent, in the U.S. and abroad, » said Karin Lissakers, director of RWI.

By passing the financial reform measure, Congress voted to require companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to publicly report how much they pay governments for access to their oil, gas and minerals.

The requirement has been lauded by RWI and other members of a coalition of development, anti-poverty, faith-based and human rights organizations as a powerful tool to help investors lower their risk and empower citizens with information critical for curbing corruption and poverty in many of the nations richest in natural resources.

« This law sets a new, higher global standard for financial transparency, » said George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute, a key Revenue Watch funder. « Making public the revenues that governments receive from oil, gas and mining companies will make those governments more open and more accountable to their citizens—and will also make these industries more transparent to investors. This is a victory for everyone who recognizes that financial transparency is essential for government and corporate accountability. »

Lissakers said other industrialized nations should follow the lead of the U.S. « The U.S. is fulfilling commitments it has made with other leading industrialized nations, in the G-8 and the G-20, » she said. « Other important capital centers like the U.K., Germany, Canada and Australia should live up to their commitment to promote transparency in extractive industries by adopting similar listing rules. » The Hong Kong Stock Exchange enacted a similar country-by-country reporting standard earlier this year.

« The logical next step is for the International Accounting Standards Board (ISAB) to universalize the standard adopted by the U.S., » Lissakers said. IASB standards are used by 110 countries, not including the U.S. The G-20 Summit held in June called for « a single set of high quality improved global accounting standards. »

Robert Ruby / RWI head of communications
1.410.807.2728 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1.410.807.2728      end_of_the_skype_highlighting /