Reading about Dennis Rehberg’s latest attempt to earn headlines over a plastic statue of Jesus on a ski hill got me thinking about his other big accomplishment in Congress: His palladium coin law.
Rehberg is so proud of his law, he listed it as his top accomplishment during last month’s debate in Big Sky (video). If you haven’t heard about palladium, it’s a metal found in only a few places on Earth—including Montana. And if you haven’t heard about Rehberg’s palladium coin law, it requires the government to study the possibility of minting a coin made out of pure palladium.
That’s it. It’s not a law to actually make a coin. It’s a law to study the possibility of making a coin. Specifically, to see if there’s “adequate demand for palladium bullion coins produced by the United States Mint.”
Sure, who doesn’t want a nice palladium coin to spend on gumballs hang over your fireplace put in your coin drawer? But seriously, what ever happened to Rehberg’s law?
Turns out, nothing. Rehberg’s beloved palladium coin study never even happened. According to the good folks over at CoinWorld.com, a $49,000 contract was awarded to a British firm to study the feasibility of minting a palladium coin. But alas, that firm was sponsored by the palladium industry, so the contract was cancelled due to a conflict of interest. And the rest is history.
With Rehberg’s top accomplishment lost between the cushions of bureaucracy, no wonder he’s turning back to Ski Bum Jesus.