https://www.occrp.org/images/danielkaufmann.jpg         Daniel Kaufmann (Photo: International Monetary Fund, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

An international transparency watchdog criticized Republicans Friday for scrapping a rule that required oil, gas and mining companies to publicly disclose the billions of dollars they pay to foreign governments in exchange for natural resources.

Daniel Kaufmann, the head of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), hailed Democrats for passionately defending the anti-corruption rule on the Senate Floor on Wednesday and blamed Republicans for “gutting” it without even saying much about it.

“Following a campaign of misinformation by the American Petroleum Institute and backers such as ExxonMobil, Republican lawmakers have shown themselves to be pro-corruption and have demolished U.S. leadership in this area,” Kaufmann said in his statement.

The American Petroleum Institute on the other hand hailed Congress for getting rid of a rule that required disclosure only for American companies and not for foreign entities – this way putting the United States at a competitive disadvantage.

Since passed in 2010 – although implemented last year after legal delays – the law was replicated by 30 other countries allowing resource-rich nations to fight corruption and hold their own governments to account for the management of revenues from the sector, Kaufmann said.

Major players like BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, as well as Russian state-owned companies like Gazprom and Rosneft have disclosed payments of over $150 billion to governments of over 100 countries to date.

“Despite this setback, the transparency train has left the station,” said Kaufmann.

“Some of the dinosaurs of the industry are still clinging to opacity but we are encouraged by company reporting through laws in other countries around the world and we will continue to press the U.S. government to put effective transparency rules in place.”

Source: Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

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