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This paper examines an unusual provision included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010), Section 1502 known as the Conflict Minerals Rule. This provision, having nothing to do with the subject matter of the act itself, attempts to place a chilling effect on the trade of four identified minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The provision and its subsequent rule, surprisingly delegated to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (an agency lacking subject matter expertise in minerals) presents a case and object lesson of almost every cost, procedural and legal error that can take place in a rushed attempt to do "social good" through government regulation of commerce. The article presents an overview of the provision and rule, demonstrating the various cost and operational burdens on industry and a host of legal pitfalls leading to its ultimate unintended consequences that in the end suggest an outcome opposite of what its Congressional authors intended.


First published in the Southern Law Journal here: