Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 23, 2014

Posts in "Sports"

November 12, 2014

Norton Introduces Bill to Eliminate NFL Tax-Exempt Status

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Norton is raring to go against the NFL. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., introduced a bill Wednesday that would eliminate the tax-exempt status for the National Football League, saying it benefits from promoting a “racial slur.”

Norton points to the Washington Redskins name as the reason that the NFL should no longer be exempt from taxes. Her bill already has a Senate counterpart, introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

“American taxpayers have been subsidizing a multi-billion dollar league that promotes what has now been officially found to be a racial slur for profitable gain,” Norton said in a her introductory statement. “Relief from taxes should no longer be given to a league that profits from the continued use of a racial slur, which degrades some Americans.”

The bill reignites a congressional fight over the NFL, which picked up steam in September amid domestic violence issues and increasing calls for the District of Columbia football team to change its name. Given the impending end of the 113th Congress, the bill is unlikely to receive much action.

Norton pointed out that over the summer, the United States Patent and Trademark Office determined the name was offensive and set in motion a process to eliminate federal trademark protections for the football team.

“While the ruling did not persuade [Redskins owner] Daniel Snyder or [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell to change the name, the ruling has the potential to affect the profits received from the sale of the team’s merchandise,” said Norton.

As the District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate, Norton has the power to introduce bills, but she cannot vote on the House floor.

Related:

Critics of Washington Team Name Target NFL Nonprofit Status (Video)

Congress Playing Tough With the NFL (Video)

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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September 19, 2014

Congress Playing Tough With the NFL (Video)

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A Redskins cheerleader entertained Capitol Police during a 2009 roll call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In 2009, Capitol Hill welcomed the Washington Redskins Marching Band and two cheerleaders for a pep rally on the West Front. It was a festive preparation for a Monday night NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Five years later, with growing opposition to the Washington team’s name, plus controversy surrounding the $10 billion league, Congress is attacking the NFL on all fronts. Members of both chambers have written Roger Goodell, the league’s commissioner, to complain about his handling of a domestic violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, calling for more transparency from the league.

Now, Senate Democrats are following through on a threat to use the NFL’s nonprofit status to pressure team owner Dan Snyder into changing the franchise’s name, putting the company’s tax exemption in peril.

Full story

September 4, 2014

Former Hill Aide, Assistant U.S. Attorney to Lead MLB Investigations Unit

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Roger Clemens, a former MLB pitcher, testifies at a 2008 congressional hearing on steroid use in baseball. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo).

Bryan Seeley, a former assistant U.S. attorney in D.C., joined a different team Thursday. Seeley will now lead Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations as MLB’s vice president of investigations and deputy general counsel.

Seeley, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, will oversee the division, which focuses on investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs and other charges of MLB rules violations.

“Major League Baseball set out to reposition the scope, capabilities and efficiency of its Department of Investigations as its needs have evolved,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement announcing the hire. “Bryan’s multifaceted experience as an Assistant U.S. Attorney will make him an invaluable resource for our game.”

Seeley worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in D.C. for the past eight years, most recently prosecuting white-collar crime in the Fraud and Public Corruption section. The litigator also has ties to Capitol Hill. Full story

June 10, 2014

Tax Proposal Draws Protest From Capitol Hill Gyms, Yoga Studios

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Betsy Poos tries to keep politics out of the classroom at Capitol Hill Yoga.

The co-owner of the Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast studio spent a decade working for members of Congress and the Democratic Party before opening, in March 2009, the small business  six blocks from the Capitol. When teaching, her classroom philosophy is: “This is the time to let your day job go.”

But a tax change working its way through the D.C. Council has recently caused Poos to “measure the line” on her credos. The city is looking at implementing a 5.75 percent sales tax on gyms, yoga studios and other health club services as part of its fiscal 2015 budget, part of an effort to revise its tax structure and reduce the overall burden on D.C. residents. Poos and other wellness practitioners are worried the proposal will hurt their industry.

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Full story

May 27, 2014

D.C. United Stadium Deal Could Be Hard Sell For D.C. Council

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Is D.C. United shedding Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium for Buzzard Point? (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Soccer fans in the District finally have details on the long-awaited plan to make a new stadium for D.C. United a reality, although D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has signaled some initial skepticism and other concerns could derail the deal. Full story

DC Vote Presses Senators on Autonomy, Citing Support for NFL Name Change

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 50 senators advocating a name change for the Washington Redskins out of respect for tribal sovereignty are being asked to take a stand on behalf of the District’s quest for greater autonomy.

DC Vote sent a letter on May 23 urging each senator to support three pieces of legislation to advance D.C. autonomy, including the “New Columbia Admission Act,” a bill to grant the District statehood that is sponsored by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del.

The May 22 letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claims the city’s football team is “on the wrong side of history.”

DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry hopes senators recognize that a similar logic applies to the plight of the disenfranchised citizens of the District, who have no voting representation on Capitol Hill. 

“Congress can put the United States on the right side of history,” Perry said in a release. “We hope the Senators who feel compelled to weigh in on this issue will also take the time to consider how the unjust denial of democracy in the capital of the United States looks to people around the world.”

The full text of the letter is below: Full story

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