Letter to SEC - Conflict Minerals

February 10, 2017

by David Grantham

Dear Chairman Piwowar,

On behalf of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), I am submitting this statement regarding the reconsideration of the conflict minerals rule implementation.

The conflict minerals statute is a microcosm of the Dodd-Frank Act: a costly regulatory monster which not only failed to accomplish its intended purpose, but hurt those it was supposed to help.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a fonner Belgian colony and second largest country in Africa, experienced a brutal, decade-long civil war during the 1990s that claimed millions of lives. The newly established DRC government told a handful of U.S. officials in 2007 that conflict lingered in the east because rebels funded their operations through the sale of minerals. That conversation gave birth to the idea of regulating conflict minerals. Legislation was introduced in Congress to force publicly-owned U.S. businesses to inspect their supply chains and declare the use of minerals sourced from the DRC, namely tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold. These minerals can be found in an assortment of products like clothing, electronics and household goods. Advocacy groups and Hollywood elites pressured Congress to use Dodd-Frank as the vehicle to pass the stalled legislation. In the end, the U.S. response to a domestic mortgage crisis included this bizarre regulation aimed at the Congolese rebels and conflict minerals.

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