Republicans in Congress are taking their first steps to dismantle Dodd-Frank, the recession-era financial reform law, as the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday to allow public companies to secretly pay foreign governments for mineral rights.
The rule being scrapped was championed by humanitarian groups because it opened a window into how big oil companies bribed corrupt governments. Groups like Global Witness and Oxfam complain that rolling back the rule will make it easier to steal resources from poor countries. Industry groups, however, counter that while laudable. the regulation hurts American companies.
Michael Littenberg, a lawyer for Ropes and Gray who fought the rule, says it "may result in governments deciding to do business with companies from other parts of the world that do not have similar disclosure regulations."
This vote is the first to use the Congressional Review Act, a look-back maneuver that allows Congress to undo previous regulations. If the vote passes the House, it would need only a simple majority in the Senate before it goes to the president's desk.