Madame Speaker, I rise to introduce the Free Competition in Currency Act. This act would eliminate two sections of US Code that, although ostensibly intended to punish counterfeiters, have instead been used by the government to shut down private mints. As anti-counterfeiting measures, these sections are superfluous, as 18 USC 485, 490, and 491 already grant sufficient authority to punish counterfeiters.
The two sections this bill repeals, 18 USC 486 and 489, are so broadly written as to effectively restrict any form of private coinage from competing with the products of the United States Mint. Allowing such statutes to remain in force as a catch-all provision merely encourages prosecutorial abuse. One particular egregious recent example is that of the Liberty Dollar, in which federal agents seized millions of dollars worth of private currency held by a private mint on behalf of thousands of people across the country.