February 27, 2015 – March 6, 2015
The summaries provided in this Weekly Recap do not necessarily represent the views of Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP and should not be deemed to be endorsements of them. The Recap is intended to be a compilation of articles and events to encourage discussion within the conflict minerals community and to keep our readers updated on the most recent developments.

House Republicans Urge Chair White to Drop Conflict Minerals Legal Challenge

Last fall, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted the SEC’s petition for rehearing of the Court’s April 2014 decision that found that certain disclosure requirements of the conflict minerals rule violated the First Amendment.

According to a Washington Post/Bloomberg article titled Republicans Tell SEC to Drop Fight Over Conflict-Minerals Rule, “House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and three other lawmakers urged SEC Chair Mary Jo White to abandon the agency’s appeal of a court decision that found parts of the conflict-minerals regulation unconstitutional.”

The article further states that in their letter, the House Republicans cited Chair White’s own remarks in October 2013 at the 14th Annual A.A. Sommer, Jr. Corporate Securities and Financial Law Lecture, Fordham Law School, where she said “But other mandates, which invoke the Commission’s mandatory disclosure powers, seem more directed at exerting societal pressure on companies to change behavior, rather than to disclose financial information that primarily informs investment decisions….But, as the Chair of the SEC, I must question, as a policy matter, using the federal securities laws and the SEC’s powers of mandatory disclosure to accomplish these goals.”

Chemical Watch: “Key” MEP Backs EU Conflict Minerals Draft Regulation Voluntary Approach

Chemical Watch, according to its article titled Key MEP Backs Voluntary Approach on Conflict Minerals, is reporting that “a key member of the European Parliament’s lead committee on the European Commission’s conflict minerals proposals has backed its preference for a voluntary, rather than mandatory, mechanism.”

Chemical Watch further provides that Iuliu Winkler, the dossier’s parliamentary rapporteur, reasoned “a voluntary scheme would allow the EU to work more effectively with other supply chain due diligence schemes already set up by business associations.”

Chemical Watch then provided an anticipated timeline of the EU draft conflict minerals regulation: “A vote in the International Trade committee on the final form of the report is scheduled for 14 April. It will then be submitted to a Parliament plenary vote in May, after which Mr. Winkler is expected to be given a mandate to negotiate with the EU Council of Ministers on the final form of the Regulation.”

CFSI Updates White Paper Titled “Five Practical Steps to Support SEC Conflict Minerals Disclosure”

The CFSI has updated its white paper titled “Five Practical Steps to Support SEC Conflict Minerals Disclosure.”

According to the press release accompanying the white paper, the CFSI white paper is designed to “provide companies and other stakeholders with useful approaches and clear, practical steps to improving their company’s conflict minerals program. It reflects the latest thinking about the relationship between the OECD Guidance and the SEC Rule and suggested activities companies may undertake when implementing their compliance programs.”

This white paper will certainly be useful, especially for downstream companies, as it provides practical guidance for companies preparing for their second round of conflict minerals filings this spring.

The white paper can be found here.