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Open Gov Partnership Launches w/ Pledge to Boost Transparency in Co Formation, Extractive Industries

September 20, 2011

Monique Perry Danziger, +1 202-903-3113

 

NEW YORK – The President announced his intention today to advocate for Congress to adopt laws requiring the disclosure of beneficial ownership for corporations at the time of company formation, an idea already proposed by Senators Carl Levin and Chuck Grassley in S. 1483, the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act, as well as a U.S. commitment to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), as part of the launch of the new government transparency initiative, the Open Government Partnership.

 

“We are excited to see this clear commitment by the Administration to combat the creation of anonymous companies.  Doing so is a critical step forward in helping to deter criminals and tax evaders from laundering and hiding money in the U.S. financial system, while also giving a major boost to anti-corruption and good governance efforts in developing countries,” said Global Financial Integrity managing director Tom Cardamone, who attended the launch in New York today.

 

“The adoption of EITI is also a welcome commitment,” continued Cardamone.  “It is an important complement to the Cardin-Luger extractive industry disclosure provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.  It will level the playing field for extractive industry companies operating in the U.S. by requiring the Cardin-Lugar type disclosures from unlisted companies operating on Federal lands, in addition to the listed companies covered by the Cardin-Lugar provisions.”

 

Highlights of the U.S.' Open Government Partnership (OGP) Plan include:

 

Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Requirements:

 

Increase Transparency of Legal Entities Formed in the U.S.

 

Legal entities can provide access to the international financial system for illicit actors and may frustrate financial investigations. To increase transparency over the next year, we will:

 

Advocate for Legislation Requiring Meaningful Disclosure. As a critical element of a broader strategy to safeguard the international financial system from such abuse of legal entities, the Administration will advocate for legislation that will require the disclosure of meaningful beneficial ownership information for corporations at the time of company formation.

 

Transparency and Accountability in the Extractive Industries Sector:

 

1. Implement Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

 

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has developed a voluntary framework under which governments publicly disclose their revenues from oil, gas, and mining assets, and companies make parallel disclosures regarding payments that they are making to obtain access to publicly owned resources. These voluntary disclosures are designed to foster integrity and accountability when it comes to development of the world’s natural resources.  This Administration:

 

• Is Hereby Committing to Implement the EITI to Ensure that Taxpayers Are Receiving Every Dollar Due for Extraction of our Natural Resources. The U.S. is a major developer of natural resources. The U.S. collects approximately $10 billion in annual revenues from the development of oil, gas, and minerals on Federal lands and offshore, and disburses the bulk of these revenues to the U.S. Treasury, with smaller portions disbursed to five Federal agencies, 35 States, 41 American Indian tribes, and approximately 30,000 individual Indian mineral owners. By signing onto the global standard that EITI sets, the U.S. Government can help ensure that American taxpayers are receiving every dollar due for the extraction of these valuable public resources.

 

• Will Work in Partnership with Industry and Citizens to Build on Recent Progress. The Administration has already made important strides in reforming the management of our natural resources to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest between the production and the collection of revenues from these resources. Signing onto the EITI initiative will further these objectives by creating additional “sunshine” for the process of collecting revenues from natural resource extraction. Industry already provides the Federal Government with this data. We should share it with all of our citizens. Toward that end, the Federal Government will work with industry and citizens to develop a sensible plan over the next two years for disclosing relevant information and enhancing the accountability and transparency of our revenue collection efforts.

 

The Open Government Partnership is overseen by eight governments and nine civil society organizations, including Global Financial Integrity. Forty-six governments have so far agreed to take part, with Canada being the most recent signatory.  To become a member, participating countries must make an Open Government Declaration; deliver a country action plan; and report on progress.

 

The U.S. Action Plan is available here.

 

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Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system.

 

For additional information please visit www.gfip.org.

 

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