Republicans in the Senate and House have proposed legislation that would prevent Congress from authorizing new commemorative coins that raise millions of dollars for the groups they are commemorating, a practice that a GOP senator was noted in recent press reports for using excessively.

The Commemorative Coins Reform Act was introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashRepublicans slam Trump’s new policy toward Cuba Kids shouldn't be charged as sex offenders Dem: Disrespect for rule of law by Trump administration 'off the charts' MORE (R-Mich.), partly in reaction to news that Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkGOP senator defends funding Planned Parenthood Why Qatar Is a problem for Washington Taking the easy layup: Why brain cancer patients depend on it MORE (R-Ill.) successfully pushed through a few commemorative-coin bills that benefited a lobbying firm connected to his former girlfriend.

Under the current practice, commemorative coins can be authorized by Congress in legislation that usually allows a surcharge to be assessed on each coin. Money raised through that surcharge benefits the group that is being commemorated by the coin.

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In June, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kirk had authored several of these bills, many of which were for clients of Arcadian Partners, a lobbying group. The Journal story reported that Arcadian was paid $54,000 by the March of Dimes to lobby for a commemorative coin, and also that Kirk's former girlfriend had been employed at Arcadian.

Press reports also noted that Kirk successfully passed other coin bills that raised several million dollars for the groups being honored.

DeMint and Amash referred to that story, and said it shows that the current way of approving commemorative coins can make it too much like a congressional earmark that members can put forward to benefit certain groups.

"Congress has done great work on eliminating earmarks, but commemorative coins have become a way for politicians to continue steering federal benefits to favored projects," DeMint said.

"Congress found yet another way to circumvent the earmark ban with commemorative coins," Amash said. "Organizations shouldn't receive special treatment because of their D.C. connections. It's far beyond the proper role of the federal government to act as the sales agent for private groups."

The bill from DeMint and Amash would use the surcharge to pay for the coin program, and use any extra money raised to pay down the deficit. DeMint said commemorative coins should not be a "money-maker" for private entities.

The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Tom CoburnTom Coburn'Path of least resistance' problematic for Congress Freedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC MORE (R-Okla.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham gets frustrated in public ‘unmasking’ debate GOP senator: Don't expect Trump to 'have your back' on healthcare vote Five takeaways from the CBO score on Senate ObamaCare bill MORE (R-S.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonSenate GOP delays ObamaCare repeal vote past recess Club for Growth opposes Senate ObamaCare repeal Cornyn: Key vote to advance health bill likely Wednesday MORE (R-Wis.), Mike LeeMike LeeSenate GOP delays ObamaCare repeal vote past recess Club for Growth opposes Senate ObamaCare repeal Cornyn: Key vote to advance health bill likely Wednesday MORE (R-Utah), John McCainJohn McCainChanging America: America’s growing education divide Congress needs to support the COINS Act GOP’s message on ObamaCare is us versus them MORE (R-Ariz.) and Jim RischJim RischBipartisan push to prioritize cyber advice for small businesses Five questions after Comey’s testimony Comey delivers dramatic rebuke of Trump MORE (R-Idaho). The House bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).