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March 1, 2015

U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chair Asks SEC To End Conflict Minerals Appeal

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chairman of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, and Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA), Scott Garrett (R-NJ) and Bill Huizenga (R-MI) last week wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ask the commission to drop its appeal of a circuit court decision last April that found the agency’s conflict minerals rule violated the First Amendment. 

The lawmakers argued the rule does not fit with the SEC’s core mandate – and noted SEC Chair Mary Jo White has also argued that point. According to Bloomberg, the lawmakers said, “We are troubled by the SEC’s discretionary use of valuable time and resources appealing the D.C. Circuit’s ruling in light of statements you have made regarding the questionable use of the federal securities laws to advance social or political goals.” The lawmakers also asked the SEC to reveal how much money it had spent defending the rule, which Tulane University estimated cost the average U.S. business $545,962 to comply with in the first year. 

As a reminder, MSCI supports the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) legal challenge to the rule and this week will participate in a meeting held by NAM’s Conflict Minerals Task Force to discuss the lawsuit.