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 tinyurl.com/cdgwk9p.

SPONSORED REPORT

Why cybercriminals are targeting CPAs

This free report expands on the most commonly found scams, why education and specialized IT knowledge help to lessen security vulnerabilities, and why every firm should plan carefully for how it would respond to a breach.

PODCAST

How tax reform — and Excel — are changing the CPA Exam

Mike Decker, the vice president of examinations at the AICPA, discusses changes being made to the exam as a result of tax reform — and about how Excel will now be available for use on the test.