"Let me thank Chairman Cox for his decision to take down the Securities and Exchange Commission's terrorism-information webpage while it is being retooled. Chairman Cox's decision responds to concerns I raised in a letter to the Commission earlier this week.
"Retooling this website - which previously provided access to incomplete and extraneous information - will enhance its usefulness to citizens seeking to determine whether their investments are being used to finance terrorism or genocide.
"Chairman Cox is to be commended for his responsiveness, and for his commitment to achieving a website that is consistent with the SEC's traditions of investor protection and fair treatment of publicly traded corporations."
The text of Ranking Member Bachus's July 17th letter to Chairman Cox follows.
July 17, 2007
The Honorable Christopher Cox
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549
Dear Chairman Cox:
I am writing to associate myself with the concerns articulated by Chairman Frank in his July 12, 2007, letter to you regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission's terrorism-information webpage, which was launched on June 25. This webpage purports to provide investors with a list of public companies the SEC believes may have investments in terrorist-financing states.
While I know that the SEC acted out of good intentions, this initiative appears to have been ill-conceived and poorly implemented. The list was seemingly created by performing a cursory word-search using the SEC's EDGAR database. This had the effect of listing companies with no apparent link to terrorist-financing states, while leaving off the list other publicly traded companies that have significant operations in countries designated by the Secretary of State as "State Sponsors of Terrorism."
While I fully agree with your comments that investors should not have to guess whether their investments are supporting terrorism or genocide, I hope that the Commission will devote the additional time and resources necessary to develop a comprehensive list based on materiality; until it does so, it should remove the link to the webpage from the Commission's website entirely. When the issue is as serious as whether a company does business with state sponsors of terrorism, the SEC must exercise proper due diligence to ensure that companies are treated fairly.
Thank you for your prompt attention to Chairman Frank's and my concerns over this issue, and I look forward to your response.
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