By Scott Barman for the Gold & Silver PAC ……
Gold & Silver News From the Political Coordinator
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
A new year not only marks the beginning of the year but also a chance for a new beginning. For states whose legislature is part-time based on the state constitution, the sessions begin in earnest since most state legislative sessions have limits on the number of days they can be in session.
With the perception that the federal government is not responsive to the issues that states face, legislators are poised to introduce legislation to bypass federal government. Many of the issues go beyond the partisan positions taken by their Washington counterparts that could lead to states testing the separation clause of the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
One issue that may not be discussed is the collection of sales taxes on e-commerce purchases. The National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL) is recommending that legislature wait for the outcome of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et. al., scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in April.
Briefly, the legislature of South Dakota passed a law to allow the state to collect sales taxes on purchases shipped to the state. When the law came into force on May 1, 2016, the state sent out notices of lawsuit to four of the largest out-of-state vendors that they believed would exceed the sales threshold and were not already collecting sales taxes. Three of the vendors refused to comply citing Quill v. North Dakota as precedent.
South Dakota sued Wayfair, Overstock.com, and Newegg in South Dakota Supreme Court knowing that the case would fail – allowing the state to appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court.
NCSL believes that this case is the opportunity to overturn Quill based on previous statements by Justices Anthony Kennedy and Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch wrote the concurrence on Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl while hearing an appeal in the Tenth Circuit saying that Quill should have an “expiration date”.
There have been several amicus curiae (literally, “friend of the court”) briefs filed in support of South Dakota, the petitioner. Those filing briefs include the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Retail Federation, the Tax Foundation, the National Governors Association, the NCSL, members of congress, 35 other states, and a brief from law professors and economists.
Amicus briefs filed in support of the respondents (Wayfair, et. al.) include the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, NetChoice, Americans for Tax Reform, and Chris Cox. Cox is a former member of congress (R-MN) and co-author of the Internet Tax Freedom Act.
It is likely that some state legislatures will prepare for the outcome of South Dakota v. Wayfair by authoring laws contingent on the Supreme Court’s decision. At this time, it is unknown how many legislatures will do this.
Counterfeit “Supernote” Found in South Korea
A high-quality counterfeit $100 “supernote” was found at the Seoul Branch of KEB Hana Bank raising concerns that they may be the work of North Korea.
The notes are of such high quality that they fooled bank officials.
Printed as Series 2006 notes, they would pre-date the introduction of the redesigned notes that include additional security features such as color shifting ink and visible security thread.
Previous supernotes were printed using the same pre-Series 2013 design and were dated as Series 2001 and 2003 notes. In 2009, it was reported that the North Korean government may have been responsible for issuing $45 million in supernotes since 2001.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service is investigating to determine the source of the notes. There has been no comment from any representative of the United States government.
Mutilated Coin Redemption Program to Resume
The U.S. Mint issued new rules to allow the resumption of the Mutilated Coin Redemption Program on January 19, 2018. The program was suspended in December 2015 after two companies, one in China and the other in New Jersey, were accused of trying to redeem slugs and counterfeit coins.
The Final Rule that makes adjustments to the regulations for Exchange of Paper Currency and Coin (31 CFR Part 100) in order to add additional oversight to the process. This includes depositing worn or heavily scratch coins in a bank or other authorized depository. Bulk submission over one pound must be separated by denomination and must be identifiable. Each denomination is considered one submission and must be over one pound (e.g., one pound of nickels and one pound of dimes and one pound of quarters, etc.). Dollar coins also have to be separated by type (e.g., Eisenhower, Sacagawea, Presidential, etc.).
The updated program restricts the redemption of fused, unsorted, and unidentifiable coins. Coins made of gold and silver are not accepted as part of this program.
More detailed information can be found on the U.S. Mint website.
Update on David Ryder Nomination as Mint Director
With the gaveling in the second session of the 115th Congress, the Senate officially returned David Ryder’s nomination “to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.” This Senate Rule states that when a nomination is neither confirmed or rejected when the senate adjourns, the nomination is returned to the president. Nominations can be carried forward by unanimous consent vote or the request of the majority leader, who controls the calendar.
Apparently, Ryder’s nomination was returned to remove the hold placed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in December. Grassley filed an intent to object to the nomination because “the Department of the Treasury has failed to respond to a letter I sent on September 29, 2017, to a bureau within the Department seeking documents relevant to an ongoing investigation by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.” Grassley said that the objection was not intended to question Ryder’s credentials but as a punitive action against the Department of the Treasury for not answering his committee’s inquiry.
Ryder’s nomination was resubmitted by the President on January 8, 2018 (PN1355). As required, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. It is likely to be passed out of committee without a hearing.
Summary of Numismatic-Related Legislation
Each two-year term of congress is marked by sessions that begin every January 3 at noon. When the House and Senate gaveled into session on January 3, 2018, it began the second session of the 115th Congress.
Political watchers have called the 115th congress everything from contentious to partisan to dysfunctional to names that cannot be repeated in front of a family audience. One thing they have not called this congress is boring.
Congress did pass the American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law No. 115-65) making it the second commemorative coin program for 2019. The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative is the other. Also, two bills passed the House and have been sent to the Senate for their consideration:
Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act (H.R. 965)
- This bill redesignates the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in New Hampshire, as the “Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park.”
- This bill creates the first commemorative coin program in 2020 in recognition and celebration of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Although no numismatic-related legislation was acted on in December, three related bills were introduced. They are as follows:
- Sponsor: Rep. William R. Keating (D-MA)
- Introduced: December 4, 2017
- Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. – Dec 4, 2017
- Sponsor: Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA)
- Introduced: December 4, 2017
- Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. – Dec 4, 2017
- Sponsor: Rep. David G. Reichert (R-WA)
- Introduced: December 21, 2017
- Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. – Dec 21, 2017
PN1355: David J. Ryder – Department of the Treasury
- Date Received from President: January 8, 2018
- Summary: David J. Ryder, of New Jersey, to be Director of the Mint for a term of five years, vice Edmund C. Moy, resigned.
- Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. – Jan 8, 2018
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If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]. “Letters to the Editor” are appreciated and may appear in a future newsletter.
Scott Barman, Political Coordinator for the Gold & Silver PAC
Barry Stuppler, Chairman Gold & Silver Political Action Committee