A leaked draft presidential memo from the Trump administration would suspend the provisions in Dodd-Frank that limit US firms in sourcing their "conflict minerals" from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the trade in these minerals provides funding to warlords who target civilian populations for campaigns of terror.
Dodd-Frank contains a rule allowing the President to suspend the ban for national security. The memo indicates that Trump would invoke this rule, though without citing any specific national security basis for doing so.
Intel lobbied heavily against the ban on conflict metals from the DRC, and was part of an unsuccessful lawsuit against the rule, brought by trade groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.
Human rights advocates — who had celebrated the conflicts rule as a major step forward — were appalled. "Any executive action suspending the U.S. conflict minerals rule would be a gift to predatory armed groups seeking to profit from Congo's minerals as well as a gift to companies wanting to do business with the criminal and the corrupt," said Carly Oboth, the policy adviser at Global Witness, in a statement responding to a Reuters article that first reported the move.
"It is an abuse of power that the Trump administration is claiming that the law should be suspended through a national security exemption intended for emergency purposes. Suspending this provision could actually undermine U.S. national security."
Draft Presidential Memorandum Suspending Conflict Minerals Rule