Trump's "gift" to American big oil

Trump's "gift" to American big oil

Elisa Maria Giannetto
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US petroleum companies will no longer be required to report certain types of payments made abroad now that Trump has lifted anti-corruption rules put in place by his predecessor in order to promote transparency

US president Donald Trump has signed a resolution lifting anti-corruption rules that require US oil companies to report payments made to foreign governments. The decision removes the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to enforce parts of the Dodd-Frank Act (2010) intended to reign in corruption, especially in the developing world. Described as "an astonishing gift to the American oil lobby," Trump’s move is in line with the position of US secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who along with other oil execs had opposed the introduction of new financial regulatory mechanisms deemed harmful to American companies. Representative Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), the repeal’s chief sponsor, stated: "Over 20 years, there’s been 56,000 rules that have been put in place, with very little legislative input or oversight, and it’s time that changed." Upon signing the resolution in the Oval Office, Trump said that it is just part of a more general regulatory rollback through which his administration aims to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. "The energy jobs are coming back. Lots of people going back to work now," he told reporters. For Trump’s supporters, the SEC rule had put an unnecessary financial burden on energy companies, undermining their competitive advantage on global markets. Democrats and supporters of the regulation see it as a victory for corruption. A vocal critic has been US senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, according to whom "This kind of transparency is essential to combating waste, fraud, corruption and mismanagement." Others, like Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA, are more optimistic: "Now we need to be sure that the new rule that the Securities and Exchange Commission writes will be a rule that can still stop corruption."