Thursday, September 27, 2012

Congress Still Using Commemorative Coins to Get Around Earmark Ban

House and Senate Republicans have introduced legislation that would prevent Congress from using commemorative coins to fund pet projects as a creative workaround to the earmark ban.
In April, The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization, Heritage Action, first wrote about the commemorative coin process. Currently, Congressmen can introduce commemorative coin bills depicting national icons in their districts, such as the Pro Football Hall of Fame or Future Farmers of America. The bills are easily passed by bipartisan majorities, because it’s pretty difficult to vote against a Mother’s Day or March of Dimes commemorative coin.
It is important to note that many of these organizations are non-profits that already receive federal funding and are perfectly capable of raising their own funds through various activities such as souvenir sales or—gasp—even making their own commemorative coins.
The congressionally approved coin is then minted by the Treasury, which is completely reimbursed for the cost of the coins as coin collectors purchase them. Of course, if a coin doesn’t sell very well, the upfront cost of the minting could, in theory, not be recouped. But the Treasury is the first to be repaid upon the sale of the coins. 

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