The Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (LCCHP) is asking the Senate to postpone the United States Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act, until it has addressed concerns with this bill through open hearings. 

The proposed legislation will allow foreign governments to immunize themselves from U.S. lawsuits when loaning art and antiquities to American museums. While LCCHP supports its purpose of cultural exchange, we fear that it would leave victims of theft and looting without recourse to recover their rightful property. By allowing museums to knowingly exhibit illicit artwork, it will also send a terrible message to the public, which undermines the longstanding U.S. commitment to cultural heritage preservation.

Congress has been unable to consider these concerns because of the unnecessary speed at which this bill is advancing. Many interested parties are unaware of it and have not yet made their voices heard. Given there is no apparent reason for such undue haste, we are urging the Senate to postpone this proposed legislation, pending open hearings. 

Help us send this message to Congress!

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Senate Bill 2212 (S. 2212) was introduced on March 20 by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). It was read twice and then referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It is the counterpart to House Bill 4086 (H.R. 4086), which had been introduced in the House of Representatives on February 24, 2012 and subsequently passed by voice vote.

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Call Senator Leahy at (202) 224-4242

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Call Senator Feinstein at (202) 224-3841

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Call Senator Hatch at (202) 224-5251

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What LCCHP Is Doing

• Since we first learned of S. 2212/H.R. 4086, we have been reaching out to other organizations and encouraging them to get involved. 

• On April 2, 2012 we emailed, mailed, and faxed this letter to Senator Leahy and modified versions to Senator Feinstein, Senator Hatch, and all of their relevant staff. 

• On April 4, 2012 we started a campaign for our members to email, call, fax, write, and tweet Senators Leahy, Feinstein, and Hatch.

• On April 18, 2012 we released a press release calling for open hearings on the bill.

• Throughout April and May 2012, we consulted numerous reporters on S. 2212, resulting in much press coverage of the bill.

• On May 21, 2012 the New York Times recognized the public campaign against S. 2212 with a major article on its implications.

• Senator Patrick Leahy was reelected on November 6, 2012 which ensures that he will continue to maintain his leadership of the Committee on the Judiciary. In light of this development, we congratulate Senator Leahy, but continue to press his office for open hearings on S. 2212.

• just announced that Sen. Charles Schumer (D–NY) is now a cosponsor of S. 2212. Please stay tuned for more updates!

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