Conflict Minerals’ Interpretative Guidance Issued
Issued on April 29th, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has announced interpretive guidance based on Release No. 34-67716, Conflict Minerals. Named Statement on the Effect of the Recent Court of Appeals Decision on the Conflict Minerals Rule (“the Statement”), the guidance is in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s (“the Court”) April 14th ruling that part of the provision which forces companies to use disclosure language like “DRC conflict free” or “DRC conflict undeterminable” violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
The interpretive guidance curtails the independent audit requirement for the SEC’s Conflict Minerals’ disclosure requirements, and was issued to explain the importance of the Court’s decision. Also, the Statement notes that if a company stays clear from using language mentioning the conflict free matter of their products, then their disclosures or associated reports won’t have to be independently audited. However, if those companies decided to use the language, then the disclosures will have to meet the Government Accountability Office’s generally accepted government auditing standards.