Tell the Senate Not to Gut Law that Protects Taxpayers, Government, and Business From Corruption!

About this issue:

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday night in favor of gutting a critical bipartisan law that protects taxpayers, governments, and businesses from corruption. The Senate can stop the gutting of this law and could vote as early as today.

The law, known as the Cardin-Lugar Provision, requires that oil, gas, and mining companies that are listed on U.S. stock exchanges publicly disclose detailed information about the payments they make to all governments in order to extract natural resources. The provision is also known as Section 1504 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The provision is widely supported by investors, citizens, politicians from both sides of the aisle, and governments around the world. It will empower taxpayers with critical information about the nation's natural resources, including publicly owned resources. And it will ensure the federal government is receiving its fair share of royalties and taxes from the industry.

The Cardin-Lugar Provision will also safeguard U.S. companies against corruption and extortion abroad because their transactions with foreign governments will no longer be secret. U.S. companies are currently at a competitive disadvantage to companies operating in the European Union, who are already safeguarded against foreign extortion by a similar transparency law.

Since the 1990s, POGO’s investigations into the federal government’s oversight of the oil, gas, and mining industries have uncovered widespread corruption and ethics violations that allowed the extractives industries to cheat billions of dollars of potential income from U.S. taxpayers. The Cardin-Lugar Provision is a safeguard against future corruption.

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Sample Script:

Hi. My name is [your name] and I am a constituent from [your town].

I am calling to urge the Senator to protect an important bipartisan law that protects taxpayers, the government, and U.S. businesses from corruption.

I encourage [the Senator] to vote against disapproving the Cardin-Lugar Provision, also known as Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

It is a common-sense law that requires oil, gas, and mining companies to publicly disclose the royalties and taxes they pay to the federal government in exchange for extracting natural resources, including those found on public lands. Public lands belong to all Americans, so we deserve to know what profits the federal government is collecting on our behalf.

Again, I urge the Senator to protect taxpayer interests and to not disapprove the Cardin-Lugar Provision.

Additional talking points you may wish to add before ending the call:

The Cardin-Lugar Provision is not anti-industry. The law is neither a threat to jobs nor to production. The law also poses no competitive disadvantages to U.S. companies. In fact, it will safeguard U.S. companies against corruption and extortion abroad. Oil, gas, and mining companies around the world already make similar disclosures under various laws and international standards.

The Cardin-Lugar Provision is a good government measure that will empower taxpayers by holding both the government and the industry accountable. Greater transparency will strengthen the public’s trust in our government.

The Cardin-Lugar Provision will help America maintain its position as a world leader in transparency and anti-corruption. Countering corruption is key to combating violent extremism and terrorism.

The Cardin-Lugar Provision has long been supported by both Republicans and Democrats. In fact, several House Republicans voted against House Joint Resolution 41 — which would disapprove the law —on Wednesday night. Fighting corruption and protecting taxpayers is not a partisan issue.