Monday, August 18, 2008

Lobbying and Archaeological Material

Peter Tompa has commented on the use of Washington lobbyists by the Republic of Cyprus ("Clay Constantinou of Patton Boggs-- CAARI's Chief Lobbyist?"). Is it unreasonable or unusual for countries to retain the services of such companies?

For Tompa there is something more sinister:
High powered lobbying all to beat up on the small businesses of the numismatic trade and collectors who just want to help preserve, study and display coins of Cypriot type (like their fellow collectors in Cyprus itself) does little to advance Cyprus' greater interests in ensuring a just reunification of the Island. If anything, it just "turns off" a segment of the US population with a real interest in Cyprus and its glorious past to anything at all to do with the modern nation state and its government.
I am sure that that the lobbyists retained by the Republic of Cyprus have more to address than the question of archaeological remains.

As a result of Tompa's posting I thought that it would be interesting to explore the organisations behind the FOIA request relating to ancient coins from Cyprus.

In 2007 the Europe-based International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) appears to have paid $15,546 for lobbying (opensecrets.org). The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) last seem to have paid for lobbying services in 2003 (opensecrets.org).

The declared lobbyist for both organisations was Dillingham & Murphy until 2007; the PNG retained McDermott, Will & Emery in 2003. For 2008 the declared lobbyist for IAPN and PNG was Bailey & Ehrenberg.

Peter K. Tompa (Bailey & Ehrenberg) is listed as a lobbyist for two organisations in 2008: the International Association of Professional Numismatists, and the Professional Numismatists Guild (opensecrets.org). Among Tompa's Practice Areas is "Cultural Property Lobbying and Advice".

Tompa is the president of the ACCG. His profile (last updated in February 2007) states, "He is currently a partner at Dillingham & Murphy, LLP." However he no longer appears on the Dillingham & Murphy website. Back in May The Hill ran a story about Tompa:
Peter Tompa, a lawyer at Bailey & Ehrenberg, wants an exemption allowing imports of ancient Iraqi coins. The trade was restricted by the State Department late last month.

Tompa is representing the Professional Numismatists Guild and the International Association of Professional Numismatists, two nonprofit groups that represent the world’s coin and paper money experts.
Is Tompa commenting on the issue of cultural property on the Museum Security Network in his capacity as lobbyist, collector of archaeological objects, private individual, or as president of the ACCG?

4 comments:

Cultural Property Observer said...

In response to your question, my blog is a private venture, though the fact that I have done some lobbying is such an "open secret," that it is mentioned on my blog which is linked to the Museum Security List Posting:

"Peter Tompa has collected ancient coins for thirty years. He has written and lectured about cultural property issues for a decade. He is a contributor to a chapter on numismatics in K. Fitz Gibbon ed., "Who Owns the Past?" (Rutgers 2005). He has lobbied members of the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch in an effort to ensure that the small businesses of the numismatic trade receive fair treatment from federal regulators….”

A more interesting and unresolved issue is the amounts, if any, groups like CAARI, AIA, Lawyer's Committee, and SAFE expend on lobbying on behalf of countries like Cyprus, and if there is any quid pro quo from foreign governments for the effort.

Sincerely,

Peter Tompa

David Gill said...

Peter
Your blog does not appear to state that you are the registered lobbyist for the IAPN or PNG.
Best wishes,
David

Cultural Property Observer said...

Yes, that is correct. My thinking at the time was that I did not want to indicate their names as that might be taken to imply that they had some involvement with my blog-- and they don't. I felt and still do the general reference was enough for purposes of disclosure of interests.

Sincerely,

Peter Tompa

David Gill said...

Dave Welsh circulated Tompa's posting to the BritArch list.

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