Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, one of the fathers of Dodd Frank Section 1502 (the conflict mineral disclosure requirement of the 2000+ page law), commented last week on the status of the situation in the DRC and expressed his views on the impact of Section 1502.
Durbin was highly critical of the compliance status of all but seven SEC filers (six of whom are based in his state), saying
I am sorry to say that not all companies took this reporting requirement seriously, hiding behind the 2-year grace period that allows them to avoid questions. My hope is that these Illinois companies serve as an example for next year’s filings nationwide.
He lauded Intel (based in California) for having conducted a voluntary audit of their filing. In addition to criticizing companies that are not based in Illinois, Durbin missed the mark on a key figure:
Almost 90 smelters (40 percent of the world’s total smelters) are certified as conflict-free…
This statement means that he believes there are only 225 conflict minerals smelters/refiners worldwide, which is inconsistent with the results of the US Department of Commerce list published only weeks ago that listed over 400 processing facilities worldwide. That study was, of course, mandated by the very law he was instrumental in creating. Although we know the Commerce list isn’t perfect, it isn’t THAT far off.
Readers may recall that Commerce themselves admitted they were unable to make conflict funding determinations about any of the 400+ facilities. Maybe Durbin thinks the U.S. Department of Commerce is also “hiding behind the 2-year grace period” he accused U.S. businesses of doing (especially those outside of Illinois).