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WASHINGTON—Bishop Oscar Cantú, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, today urged Congress to reject a Congressional Review Act (CRA) (Senate: SJR 9; House: HJR 41) that would repeal rules designed to institute greater transparency and accountability in the payments that oil and mining companies make to foreign governments.
The Securities and Exchange Commission established these rules to implement the Cardin-Lugar Anti-Corruption Rule, also known as "Section 1504" or the "Publish What You Pay" provision. The goal of the provision is to reduce corruption in poor yet resource rich countries. Research shows that countries receiving 50% or more of government revenue from oil or mineral companies tend to have higher rates of corruption which undermine democratic institutions, good governance, and fair elections while allowing repressive governments to remain in power. In such cases, a country's natural wealth can become more of a curse than a blessing.
Bishop Cantú has issued the following statement in response to Senate Resolution SJR 9 and House H.J. Resolution 41.
I renew our strong support for greater transparency and comprehensive reporting in revenue payments. As my predecessor as Chairman, Bishop Howard Hubbard wrote, 'Transparency in extractive industry payments to governments is important to us as leaders of the Catholic community of faith and institutions that are investors and consumers. We believe these principles, policies, and rules can help protect the lives, dignity and rights of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth. The rules have moral and human consequences as well as economic and political impact.' Therefore, I urge all members of Congress to reject the CRA (SJR 9; HJR 41) and instead protect the life and human dignity of all people from suffering the "resource curse."
Keywords: Bishop Oscar Cantú, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee of International Justice and Peace, U.S. Congress, Congressional Review Act (CRA), repeal, Securities and Exchange Commission, Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule, extractive industries, corruption, common good, transparency.
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