Harry G. Broadman writes in Forbes:
The U.S. House of Representatives, spurred on by the Trump Administration, is continuing its assault on a portion of a 2010 statute that requires certain U.S. businesses to disclose to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) payments made to foreign governments. In a perfect, corruption-free world of international commerce, these types of disclosure requirements would be unnecessary.
Alas, increasingly companies are making such payments dressed up as charitable donations or as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives seemingly focused on attaining Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) objectives, yet actually functioning–either deliberately or through weak governance and financial controls–as bribes to secure commercial gains from sovereigns, especially in emerging markets, who have few scruples.
One of the most well-known examples of such malfeasance dates back to 2011 when two oil companies contributed an initial installment of $175 million (out of a promised total of $350 million) to establish a technical research and training center in Angola to be run by that country’s state owned oil monopoly—Sonangol. More than six years later there is no such center and no one seems to know where the money actually went.