Sure, companies have spent millions and millions on conflict minerals compliance. But what have the conflict minerals rules cost the SEC? According to Reuters, reporting on a response by SEC Chair Mary Jo White to a request by a group of Republican House members, the SEC “has spent about $2.75 million to write, implement and defend itself against legal challenges to its ‘conflict mineral rules.’”  

You may recall that, in February, House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling and three other House members (Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Bill Huizenga of Michigan, and Ed Royce of California) sent a letter to White urging that the SEC end its appeal of the conflict minerals case, National Association of Manufacturers, Inc. v. SEC, currently pending in the DC Circuit. (See this post.) As part of the letter, Hensarling asked for a report on the amount of funds and time spent defending the rule.

In her response, “White said staff have spent about 17,000 hours since July 2010 writing the rule at a cost of about $2.1 million. Another $520,000 and 4,000 hours have been spent defending the rule from an ongoing legal challenge and another $128,000 updating its systems for companies to begin submitting conflict mineral disclosure reports. When asked about the costs during a House Financial Services hearing on Tuesday, White told lawmakers the rule is a ‘congressional mandate’ that pre-dated her tenure. ‘It is my obligation to carry it out,’ she added.”