US Coins

Legislation seeks medals, Russian gold ban

Three separate pieces of legislation recently introduced in Congress would have numismatic results — one would prohibit U.S. citizens from participating in transactions involving Russian gold, and two seek congressional gold medals.

The two seeking gold medals would recognize civil rights activist and former federal judge Constance Baker Motley and the North Platte Canteen in Nebraska that operated during World War II.

Cited as the Stop Russian Government and Oligarchs from Limiting Democracy Act of 2022 or the Stop Russian GOLD Act of 2022, S. 3771 was introduced in the Senate March 7 by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Cornyn’s bill seeks to bar “U.S. persons” from transactions with “foreign persons” that purchase or transact in Russian gold.

“U.S. persons” are defined in the legislation as “a United States citizen or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence to the United States; or an entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States, including a foreign branch of such an entity.”

A “foreign person” is defined as one who “purchases, transacts in, or transports between countries gold received from the Government of the Russian Federation, including from reserves of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation held outside the Russian Federation; or engages in a transaction involving gold; and that has a physical or electronic nexus to the Russian Federation.”

Violations or attempts to violate the Stop Russian GOLD Act of 2022, should it become law, would be subject to penalties under provisions of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

If the Stop Russian GOLD Act of 2022 were enacted, the Treasury secretary would be tasked with providing guidance for compliance “to ensure that United States persons are able to avoid unknowingly investing in or transacting with foreign persons described in subsection (b) through bundled or basked [sic] assets; and to facilitate divestment from investment in and transactions with such foreign persons.”

The London Bullion Market Association has already banned trading on the platform in gold refined at Russian Federation refineries.

Civil rights in action

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-Conn., on Feb. 18, introduced H.R. 6766 seeking a gold medal for posthumous award to Motley, a key strategist of the U.S. Civil Rights movement; she was New York state senator and borough president of Manhattan in New York City before becoming a United States federal judge in 1966.

As a staff attorney for the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., Motley figured prominently in the landmark 1954 desegregation case Brown v. the Board of Education.

A similar bill seeking a gold medal for Motley, S. 3508, was introduced Jan. 13 in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

Volunteers at home

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., introduced S. 3750 in the Senate March 3 seeking a congressional gold medal to be awarded “collectively, to the individuals and communities who volunteered or donated items to the North Platte Canteen in North Platte, Nebraska, during World War II from December 25, 1941, to April 1, 1946.”

The North Platte Canteen (which is also known as the Service Men’s Canteen in the Union Pacific Railroad station at North Platte) was a railroad stop that was served by local citizens of North Platte, Nebraska.

Its purpose was to provide refreshments and hospitality, during their 10- to 15-minute stopovers, to soldiers traveling through the area on the way to war.

During its run, nearly 55,000 Nebraska women served more than six million military personnel on their way to fight in World War II.

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