Dear fellow OMSA members:
Pending Legislation from Senator Ted Cruz. Late last year, Ted Cruz (R-Tex) introduced a bill in the Senate that, if enacted into law, will affect overseas buying and selling of the Medal of Honor and other U.S. military medals, decorations and badges. Here is a link to the bill: https://www.cruz.senate.gov/files/documents/2020.12.11_ARM20F95.pdf. Senator Cruz also has issued a statement explaining its intent: https://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=5506.
The legislation will have no impact on the buying, selling, trading of U.S. medals inside the United States. Rather, the intent of Senator Cruz’s legislation is to encourage the “repatriation” of Medals of Honor (MoH) being sold oversea. Cruz that these foreign sales of the MoH dishonor the decoration. (I do not agree at all but that is not the point). Senator Cruz’s proposed legislation would punish overseas sellers of the MoH and other U.S. medals (the wording of his proposal law goes beyond sales of the MoH). Punishment would come in the form of sanctions, except that overseas sellers “approved” by the Department of Defense would be free to sell U.S. medals. The process for obtaining such approval, and criteria governing such approval, are not spelled out in the legislation.
As most of you know, because of uncertainty about the lawfulness of buying and selling the MoH on U.S. soil, there has been a fairly brisk market in the sale of the MoH by auction houses located in Germany and the United Kingdom. The intent of Senator Cruz’s legislation is to stop these sales. Unfortunately, because of the wording in the proposed bill, it will probably be interpreted as preventing the overseas sales of all military U.S. medals, decorations and badges.
Bottom line: Senator Cruz’s proposed legislation will not have any impact on collectors buying, selling, or trading medals here in the United States. If enacted—and that is an open question given that Senator Cruz’s party no longer has control of the Senate and his bill only has been referred to a Senate committee for action—the most likely result would be that established firms like Morton and Eden and DNW (in the UK) and Hermann Historica and Andeas Thies (in Germany) would no longer offer American medals for sale in their auctions.
For those OMSA members who have seen Adam Rohloff’s comments on Senator Cruz’s legislation, I agree with Adam’s interpretation—and his conclusion that the legislation is not well crafted and riddled with vague details. More on this topic as we move into 2021.