10 February 2004

SEC Wants Rogue States Ties Disclosed

SEC Wants Rogue States Ties Disclosed: "

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission may be enlisted in the U.S. fight against terrorism, whether it likes it or not.

In the latest federal funding bill, Congress directed the SEC to identify U.S.-listed companies with ties to states that sponsor terrorism and to require more disclosure to investors about corporate operations in high-risk areas.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the SEC's budget, insisted on the provisions, which were included in a report accompanying the fiscal 2004 funding bill.

President Bush signed the bill two weeks ago but noted that accompanying reports 'do not have the force of law' and 'are not legally binding.'

Wolf thinks the SEC has no choice, though.

'It's now the law and he expects them to abide by it,' said Jeff Walton, a spokesman for Wolf.

Wolf, a longtime human-rights advocate, worries that Americans may unwittingly invest in companies that do business in countries that sponsor terrorism or violate human rights. At his prodding, the U.S. budget for fiscal 2004, which ends Sept. 30, directs the SEC to establish an Office of Global Security Risk to give investors and other federal agencies a better window on business operations in states with terrorism ties."

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