A Dodd-Frank rule requires Silicon Valley tech companies and others to reveal whether minerals in their supply chains fund conflicts in Central Africa. Why do some progressives oppose this requirement?
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, when Senators Chris Dodd and Barney Frank drew up the landmark regulatory bill that bears their names. One of its lesser-known provisions required U.S. companies to list the inclusion of any “conflict minerals,” mined in or near the violence-plagued Democratic Republic of the Congo, that comprise their brand-name products. The thinking was that this would help cut off funding for the armed groups ravaging that unfortunate country.
But that was way back in 2010, when the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law. With touching innocence, the act entrusted the Securities Exchange Commission to establish the enforcement mechanism for this part of the legislation. This week, retail giant Walmart, along with arch-competitor Target and some other companies, got a free pass from Section 1502 of the law. The news, carried by the Wall Street Journal,