June Ends With No Rule – No Surprise

As has become habit with SEC, the highly publicized June timeframe for publication of the Commission’s final rule on conflict minerals (Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act) will pass by without action.

SEC Chair Mary Shapiro stated in a budgetary hearing last March that she anticipated the final rule in June, establishing yet another informal deadline and setting some expectations in the regulated community.

The Commission did not meet this week, nor is a meeting scheduled for today, Monday or anytime in the next 7 days.  Rules are voted on in Commission meetings for adoption, then publication.  Federal law requires public notice of Commission meetings at least 7 days in advance (except for emergency meetings, which typically involve enforcement actions, not rule making).

There is talk in some circles of an August publication timeframe.

Of equal interest is how – or perhaps whether – Shapiro responds to this week’s letter from 58 members of Congress demanding July 1 action on the rule or a June 29 written response explaining the Commission’s reason for the inaction/delays.

We have heard that the letter could possibly go completely unanswered.   With the government’s attention on yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on health care, and politicians looking to the upcoming election, there is growing concern that the political will to finalize the rule before the January presidential inauguration is fading.

At this point, any prediction is as good as another.

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