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New ICTA committee a loser

The Industry Council for Tangible Assets has formed a committee to recommend candidates for U.S. Mint director to the Obama administration.

My first reaction was huh?

ICTA is a numismatic lobbying organization formed to defend collectors and businessmen from unfair taxes such as state sales taxes on coin and bullion transactions and to win collectors who own coins tax treatment that is identical to the long-term capital gains tax treatment that they get on other investments when the time comes to sell.

ICTA educates dealers about how to comply with all cash transaction reporting requirements to prevent them being entrapped in money laundering.

These are good and necessary undertakings.

ICTA has existed on a shoestring budget since its founding in the early 1980s. Nevertheless, it has won some notable victories in state capitals. There have been some defeats as well, but it is all part of the job.

I believe the organization generally serves a useful purpose in areas most hobbyists view as necessary.

Formation of this committee crosses the line.

Now ICTA is engaging in politics. The Mint director’s job goes to a supporter of the President. When a new President arrives, so does a new Mint director.

The Mint has nothing to do with state sales taxes. It has nothing to do with federal tax policy. It has nothing to do with cash reporting enforcement.

In short, it has nothing to do with ICTA’s historic purpose.

This committee is a loser. It will irritate potential donors who might not agree with its recommendations. ICTA needs all the donors it can get.

With such limited means, ICTA needs to stick to its mission. Picking a Mint director is not part of it.

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One Response to New ICTA committee a loser

  1. While getting involved in lobbying is a difficult proposition, but history tells us that getting involved in the process of political appointments is dangerous. The ICTA should learn from the history of the AFL-CIO and their lobbying for Secretaries of Labor in the 1960s and their marginalization by administrations through the 1970s until they lost all credibility when the Reagan administration dismissed air traffic controllers who were members of PATCO. The AFL-CIO’s loss of credibility did not help the fired employees. It was not until the middle of the Clinton administration, when it was apparent the AFL-CIO was not "running" the Department of Labor did they regain some credibility. It took 15 years before the AFL-CIO could lobby on behalf of major legislation (the Employee Free Choice Act) because of its lack of credibility–and they still are not fully trusted on both sides of the aisle.

    ICTA whould be well advised to not expand its charter into this area. Overstepping their bounds could marginalize their core mission.

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