Business Groups Try to Delay Conflict Minerals Reports

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Three business groups that have repeatedly challenged the Securities and Exchange Commission’s conflict minerals rule have asked the D.C. court of appeals to postpone the first reporting deadline, set for June 2.

The emergency motion, filed May 5 by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, notes that the section of the rule that requires companies label their minerals conflict-free has been declared unconstitutional by the appeals court and urges the deadline be vacated until the lower court rules on the issue.

“The remaining disclosure information that the SEC is continuing to require…serves no purpose standing alone,” wrote the three groups. “It may well be that a new rule can be crafted consistent with the Court’s holding that will still serve the statute’s purposes, but the current rule, hastily reconstructed without notice-and-comment rulemaking, plainly does not do that.”

The SEC has issued what it calls a partial stay to the rule, saying public companies do not have to use the disputed language but still have to file their reports as scheduled.

The agency devised and voted in favor of its rule on Aug. 22, in response to Sect. 1502 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which requires public companies to disclose whether they source conflict minerals, including gold and tungsten.

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