Bono spoke out against Exxon, Chevron and others for suing the SEC in an attempt to block the Dodd-Frank Rule, which requires oil, mining and gas companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.
The U2 singer spoke on a panel moderated by former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. The topic of conversation was about corporate transparency, the role of government, and the effect they have on poverty and health worldwide.
The disclosure rule, set to take effect on Sept. 30, was struck down by a federal judge in July.
“We know corruption is killing more kids than TB, AIDS and malaria put together. There is a vaccine and it’s called transparency,” said Bono.
He addressed Exxon and Chevron directly, praising their support of malaria and AIDS prevention. However, the singer was quick to point out that it was hypocritical to simultaneously offer aid on one side, while undermining anti-corruption laws on the other.
“I’m no cranky anti-corporation critic here,” he said. “I implore the people in this room, from Exxon, from Chevron… You can’t have it both ways. You can’t give alms to the poor on one level and have your hands on their throats on another.”
The European Parliament passed legislation similar to the Dodd-Frank Rule in June.
Some of the world’s poorest people live in countries that have the richest natural resources, yet they remain in poverty because of corruption.
On the topic of fighting against corruption in Africa, Bono added, “This new rising class in Africa, this entrepreneurial class, they will remember who stood with them and who stood against them.”
Bono co-founded the ONE campaign, which seeks to “end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.”