‘It Will Have a Major Effect’: US Congressman Introduces Bill to Tighten Regulation on the Art Market

artnet News | Eileen Kinsella

A small addition to an existing US law could have big implications for American art dealers and the art market at large. A Congressman has proposed adding “dealers in art and antiques” to the list of businesses that are subject to strict anti-money laundering and other financial compliance rules. If the bill passes, dealers will need to prepare for a lot more paperwork—and scrutiny. Last Friday, Representative Luke Messer of Indiana, who serves as Republican policy committee chairman on the House Financial Services Committee, introduced a bill proposing that art and antique dealers be added to the Bank Secrecy Act, also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act. The law was passed by Congress in 1970 and is overseen by a division of the US Treasury Department.

The news comes just over a month after the EU voted to adopt tighter restrictions on the art trade. Although there is already increased government oversight of certain corners of the antiquities and cultural property sector, “this is the first type of regulation in the US that will affect the entire art market,” attorney Michael McCullough told artnet News. “It will have a major effect on dealers large and small.” Weeks after the EU restrictions passed, McCullough’s law firm Pearlstein, McCullough & Lederman sent a memo to its clients warning that legislators were zeroing in on American art dealers…read more

Image: Andy Warhol’s 200 One Dollar Bills during an auction preview