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Court (succinctly) denies stay in conflict minerals case

Photo courtesy of Aljazeera, via YouTubeIn a one-sentence order Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. denied the National Association of Manufacturer’s (NAM’s) emergency motion to stay enforcement of the SEC’s conflict minerals.

The court’s order was returned the day after NAM filed its reply to the SEC’s brief in the matter, requesting relief from the entire rule’s application. NAM argued that because the appellate court struck down one portion of the rule, the whole rule should be invalidated, because the clauses are inseverable.

The rule requires certain SEC-reporting companies to disclose whether their products rely on conflict minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and bordering countries. 

The D.C. circuit issued an opinion on April 14 that partially struck down the conflict minerals disclosure rule.

The court said the portion of the rule requiring reporting companies to disclose in SEC filings and on their websites if any of their products have “not been found to be ‘DRC conflict-free'” violates free speech guarantees found in the First Amendment.

Companies must make their conflict-minerals disclosures to the SEC as required by the Dodd-Frank Act by May 31.

On April 29, the SEC issued guidance to companies regarding how to make proper disclosures consistent with both the rule and the appellate court’s ruling by the quarterly filing deadline.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of the FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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