Business & industry

A federal judge ruled against business groups’ court challenge to new conflict mineral rules, which require U.S. issuers to monitor their supply chains in an effort to curtail human rights abuses in Africa where the raw materials are mined.

Judge Robert Wilkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the motion for summary judgment filed by the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Roundtable. The business groups have filed notice that they plan to appeal the ruling.

The business groups had challenged the conflict minerals rule as arbitrary and capricious, and claimed that the disclosures required by the SEC run afoul of the First Amendment. Wilkins ruled that the business groups’ claims lacked merit. The first Conflict Minerals Reports are due to the SEC on May 31, 2014, to report on the 2013 calendar year.

Businesses are developing procedures to comply with the rule, which was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, P.L. 111-203, and was enacted by the SEC in August 2012.

The rule directly affects an estimated 6,000 U.S. issuers and requires tracing of conflict minerals (gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten) through supply chains to determine and disclose whether the raw materials originate at mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or its nine adjoining countries. If the conflict minerals originated in the DRC or its neighboring countries, the issuer must determine and disclose whether the sale of those minerals financed or benefited armed groups.

For more information on conflict minerals and independent private-sector audits of Conflict Minerals Reports, visit the AICPA Conflict Minerals Resources page at


News quiz: College debt, stolen identities, and retirement planning

See how much you know about these developments and others in the Journal of Accountancy news quiz.


Preventing and detecting fraud at not-for-profits

Organizations in all industries must deal with the potential for fraud to occur, and design controls to prevent and detect it. Environment, policies, and controls can help organizations steer clear of problems.


The dangers of dabbling

To meet evolving marketplace needs, CPAs often look to diversify their service offerings. Firms can mitigate the risk of experiencing competency-related professional liability claims by implementing these basic steps.