Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 1, 2014

PGA Gives Money to Leaders

boehnergolf 218x335 PGA Gives Money to Leaders

 Speaker John A. Boehner

The Professional Golfers’ Association knows how to lobby to keep its tax-exempt status. It gives out political contributions to leaders in Congress, hires lobbyists, and selects tournament sites in certain locations.

Many political leaders like to play golf for the sport, for the opportunity to build relationships on the course and in the clubhouse, as well as using golf resorts as venues for fundraising events. They also like to bring tournaments and tourism into their states.

The tax-exempt PGA Tour is like many other organizations and gives political leaders campaign contributions. The PGA Tour Inc. PAC raised $37,600 in 2011-2012 and gave out $19,750 to campaigns.  This included $5,000 to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio; $7,500 to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., a member of the Senate Finance Committee; $2,500 to Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.; $1,000 to Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; $1,000 to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee; $1,000 to Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., member of the House Ways and Means Committee; $1,000 to Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, member of the House Ways and Means Committee; among others.

In 2013 it has given again to Rep. Buchanan, and also Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Some of these legislators represent states that host PGA tournaments, such as the Greenbrier Classic that was held at West Virginia’s Greenbrier Resort at the beginning of July and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational that was held in Ohio at the beginning of August.

The PGA Tour Inc. PAC collects contributions from its executives, such as Commissioner Tim Finchem ($2,000 in 2012) and Champions Tour president Michael Stevens ($1,250 in 2012).

Many PGA executives also give directly to candidates and committees. PGA Tour consultant Victor Ganzi gave $2,500 to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; PGA National Resort president E. Lloyd Ecclestone gave $30,800 in 2012 to the National Republican Congressional Committee; among others.

The PGA Tour also has hired lobby firms to lobby Congress and the executive branch on their behalf. In the last year it paid Dan Tate LLC $140,000 for lobbying on matters affecting exempt organizations. It also paid DLA Piper US LLP $200,000 for lobbying on tax legislation affecting exempt organizations, and extension of Sec. 512(b)(13) in the Internal Revenue Code.

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