The Politics of Poverty

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By the numbers—the fight for oil and mining company transparency

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1504   Section in Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act requiring companies to disclose taxes, royalties, and other payments made to the US and foreign governments   1.5 billion  People living on less than $2 a day in “resource-rich” countries   $30 million  Value of Malibu mansion owned by Teodoro Nguema Obiang, son of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea’s dictator   1    Number […]

1504   Section in Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act requiring companies to disclose taxes, royalties, and other payments made to the US and foreign governments
 
1.5 billion  People living on less than $2 a day in “resource-rich” countries
 
$30 million  Value of Malibu mansion owned by Teodoro Nguema Obiang, son of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea’s dictator
 
1    Number of white crystal-covered ‘Bad Tour’ gloves in Teodoro’s Michael Jackson memorabilia collection valued at $3 million (See “U.S. vs. One Crystal-Covered ‘Bad Tour’ Glove” court filing.)
 
270   Days after enactment that Congress required the SEC to issue a final rule (regulation) to implement the law
 
559   Days since Dodd-Frank enacted into law by President Obama
 
289   Days that the SEC has been in violation of the law
 
13    Months after Dodd-Frank that the European Commission issued a legislative proposal that would place a similar requirement on oil and mining companies
 
0    Host country laws oil companies have been able to cite that would prohibit disclosure of payment information as required by Dodd-Frank
 
3    Commissioners eligible to vote on the final rule (Chairwoman Schapiro and Commissioner Paredes are recused because of conflicts of interest.)
 
$50 million  Estimated amount Exxon says that it would cost to comply with law, even though it provides no backing data for the estimate and presumably already collects and tracks payment information
 
$41 billion  Exxon’s 2011 profits—a 35% increase over 2010
 
$100,000  Cost Barrick Gold, world’s largest gold producer, says it would cost them to comply
 
$1.2 trillion  Approximate combined assets under management of investors who have told SEC to issue a strong final rule
 
3   Companies and industry associations (Shell, Exxon and API) who say that payment disclosure “could allow terrorists” to target a project
 
2  Nigerian oil workers unions who say it would actually make them safer
 
5  Companies who met SEC Commissioner Gallagher on December 2, 2011, to lobby for a weak final rule—Shell, Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Occidental
 
15  Oil and mining companies who “support” the voluntary Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) program who are also members of American Petroleum Institute (API). API has threatened to sue the SEC to keep payment info secret.
 
5  Companies on the EITI board who are also API members
 
11  Luxury sports cars worth at least $5 million belonging to Teodoro seized by French police in Paris as part of an investigation into possible corruption
 
20  Days after auto seizure that President Obiang scored his son a UNESCO envoy post in Paris
 
$5,000  Teodoro’s reported monthly government salary as Equatorial Guinea’s minister of agriculture
 
2010  Year Equatorial Guinea was expelled from EITI for failing to meet its minimum transparency requirements
 
5   Companies producing oil and gas in Equatorial Guinea who will be covered by Dodd-Frank (Exxon, Marathon, Hess, Noble, and Mitsui produce the vast majority of oil and gas in Equatorial Guinea. The first four are members of the American Petroleum Institute. API sent a letter to the SEC on January 19 saying it would be unlawful to issue a final rule to implement the Dodd-Frank provision.)
 
No data  Percent of Equatorial Guinea’s population living below the poverty line. An estimated 60 percent lived on less than $1 a day according to a 2006 UN report.
 
700,000  Population in Equatorial Guinea still in the dark about the country’s finances and waiting for full implementation of Dodd-Frank Section 1504

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  1. jkraus@egjustice.org'Joseph Kraus

    So, if we take at face value Exxon’s claim that disclosure would cost $50 million (which seems high given the fact that it presumably already tracks this data, like any well-run business should), it would cost the company 0.12% of its annual profits, or roughly the amount of profits it earns in 10 hours, to comply with a major piece of U.S. legislation that would increase transparency and market stability globally. Sounds like a worthwhile investment on the part of the company.

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