Collectors to Appeal Judge's Decision Condoning State Department Secrecy

Jan 05, 2010, 13:17 ET from Ancient Coin Collectors Guild

GAINESVILLE, Mo., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- On December 22, an appeal was filed at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), the International Association of Professional Numismatists and the Professional Numismatists Guild. The appeal seeks to overturn Judge Richard J. Leon's November 20th decision to uphold the State Department's (DOS) repression of information about the process by which import restrictions were placed on common collectable coins of Cypriot and Chinese types:

Ironically, the Judge's decision in this Freedom of Information Act lawsuit came less than a month before President Obama's "Open Government" Progress Report to the American People--where the President proclaims: "My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government..."

Likewise, in the month before Judge Leon's decision, Norm Eisen, special counsel to the President for ethics and government reform promised "Transparency like you've never seen before."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a speech at Georgetown University on December 14th said with regard to international development assistance, "...We will pursue a rights-respecting approach to development-- consulting with local communities, ensuring transparency, and midwife-ing accountable institutions--so that our development activities act in concert with our efforts to support democratic governance. That is the pressing challenge we face in Afghanistan and Pakistan today."

Fifty years ago, in another address to an American university, Malcolm Muggeridge defined humor as the disparity between human aspiration and human performance. He likened human aspiration to a lofty cathedral spire and human performance to the leering gargoyles at its base. Collectors might ponder Muggeridge's observation as they have learned first-hand, through their FOIA case against DOS, that transparent government still appears to be a dream rather than a reality.

Advocates of private collecting seek the release of information that they claim will confirm arbitrary and capricious actions within the U.S. State Department. Through bilateral agreements with China and Cyprus, crafted by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in an atmosphere of extreme secrecy, DOS imposed import restrictions on old coins that are commonly sold in markets around the world.

The ACCG recognizes the President's hopes for transparency and demonstrates this spirit by releasing the FOIA case documents on its website:

To obtain further information, go to:

Contact: Wayne G. Sayles, 417-499-9831

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SOURCE Ancient Coin Collectors Guild