Wesselhöft says looted art targeted

State Rep. Paul Wesselhöft said that a bill pending before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee would provide unnecessary concessions to the Russian Federation, the Republic of Cuba and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) through the form of blanket cultural property exchange immunity.

Wesselhöft said the bill would not only allow dictatorial states to display their looted artworks within the United States without the ability for claims to be made in U.S. courts but would also encourage looting from conflict zones.

“This bill will provide blanket concessions to criminal states such as Russia, or Cuba,” said Wesselhöft, R-Moore. “The bill supported by Senators Chuck Grassley and Orin Hatch is downright immoral and unjust, and it stands against the very rights this nation has supported. Not only that, but it also violates stated United States foreign policy. It is appalling that a bill of this nature may receive positive review in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has no place in Congress and should be immediately pulled from consideration.”

Wesselhöft stated his support for the efforts of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project and the Holocaust Remembrance and Restitution Foundation over the past few weeks. These two United States-based organizations work toward helping the victims of cultural theft crimes that were committed against them by totalitarian regimes.