February 1, 2017
While I appreciate the acting chair's "Chuck-Schumer's-tears-esq" concern for those suffering in Africa and whatever national security implications that may entail (although his qualifications, if any, for making conclusions about national security are not immediately clear), it seems like the acting chair's statement fails to address the single most important and relevant factor: Is this information material to an investment decision? For years (generations?), the Republicans have decried the use of mandatory SEC disclosures to advance essentially political causes (e.g., conflict minerals, diversity, climate change). This would have been an excellent opportunity to change the focus to ensuring that investors are provided with all information necessary to make informed investment decisions (i.e., a core mission of the SEC). There is, in my opinion, a strong argument for why conflict mineral disclosures are immaterial to investment decisions by reasonable investors. However, instead of focusing on the SEC's mission, the acting chair has taken this opportunity to parrot the talking points of the mineral extraction industry - essentially doing the very thing he and his party have torn their hair out about in the past. Focus on the SEC's mission and leave national security and African suffering to the departments and agencies that actually know about those topics. If you want to stop politicizing the SEC (a GREAT idea), then stop talking like a politician and focus on the mission.