by Cydney Posner
The National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have petitioned the SEC to stay the conflict minerals rule or the Form SD filing deadline pending amendment of the final rule’s disclosure requirements. Action was requested by tomorrow so that, if the petition is denied, the petitioners may seek relief in court. They argue that, without the language that has been ruled unconstitutional by the D.C. Circuit, the remainder of the rule has questionable benefits. In addition, they contend, there are many open issues, such as the extent of the SEC’s “discretion to craft a disclosure that comports with both the statute and the First Amendment,” including whether the existing disclosure requirement is compelled by the statute and, if so, whether that requirement is severable. If not compelled, the petitioners argue, the SEC will have to devise replacement language and consider the costs and benefits, none of which appears doable in remaining one-month timeframe.
Given the statement by the director of Corp Fin yesterday (which seems unlikely to have been issued without the concurrence of the majority of commissioners), a betting person might put his or her money on the petitioners’ having to seek relief from the court.