Monday, March 17, 2014

Money and Politics of a Cultural Property Kind

Money and politics is an unfortunate reality here in Washington, D.C.    So, it should be no surprise that reports that  Deborah Lehr of the Archaeological Institute of America, Capitol Archaeological Institute and Antiquities Coalition has given at least $124,800 to mostly Republican candidates over the years.  Or that Clay Constantinou, a board member of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, helped Democrats raise so much money that President Clinton appointed him as Ambassador to Luxembourg.  But perhaps it helps explain why despite the CPIA's legislative history, CPAC's prior recommendations on Cypriot and Italian coins, bipartisan support in Congress for coin collectors, and lopsided numbers of public comments against import restrictions on coins, there are now import restrictions on coins from Cyprus, China, Italy, Greece and  Bulgaria, and if the AIA and related groups has their way apparently there will soon be restrictions on coins from Egypt as well.

There needs to be far more scrutiny about behind the scenes lobbying of the executive branch by principles of public charities which were supposedly created to further purely academic pursuits like archaeology.

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