Why do you think Congress won’t end the NFL’s tax break?

Perhaps the most famous tax break in America is the one bestowed by Congress on the NFL. It’s famous for its seeming illogic — the NFL, hugely profitable, being called a “nonprofit.”

And it’s famous, along with the antitrust exemption for pro football, for the number of times members of Congress have threatened subtly or otherwise to take it away.

The occasions range from the anger of then-Sen. John F. Kerry in 2007 over a blackout of a New England Patriots game to resentment about the name of the Washington, D.C., football team to concern about concussions to anger over what Republican Sen. Tom Coburn and Maine’s independent Sen. Angus King called “tax earmarks…”

Now, in the wake of the domestic abuse controversies in the NFL, the rumbling has started anew. Congress must now investigate the league’s handling of the domestic abuse charges, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California said in a press release, as well as its “tolerance of performance enhancing drugs, the impact of traumatic brain injury on players later in life, and the tax-exempt status the NFL enjoys thanks to a loophole Congress created in the ’60s.”

But don’t count on anything happening — ever — to the exemptions enjoyed by pro sports. The NFL remains a heavy hitter in Washington. Its officials and political action committee donated more than $1.4 million to members of Congress during the past two election cycles, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. It spends millions as well on as many as 26 lobbyists from top-tier Washington firms.

One of the essential perks of being a Congress-critter is free skybox seats to whatever is the hot sports event in town. Given the snug fit between the NFL and the All-American reliance on war games to keep our collective ego inflated – that match is often defined by the National Football League.

Icing on the cake – with the cake being the inevitable contributions to Joe Congressman’s re-election campaign.

Thanks, Mike — who added:

Two new bills have been introduced that would strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status:

1. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced Tuesday that she will introduce legislation to eliminate the NFL’s tax-exempt status.

2. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has introduced legislation to strip several professional sports leagues, including the NFL, of their tax-exempt status.

Earlier this year, Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced the PRO-Sports Act to address this issue on the premise that it is unfair to the American tax-payer.

A tax reform package sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R- Mich.) includes a repeal of tax-exempt status for professional sports leagues. It is languishing in committee.

10 thoughts on “Why do you think Congress won’t end the NFL’s tax break?

  1. America’s Game says:

    “NFL’s Sponsors Quietly Shift Ads Amid Women Woes” http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nfls-sponsors-quietly-shift-ads-735274 “Multiple media buyers tell THR that clients have requested their ads not appear during games featuring the Ravens or Minnesota Vikings, the team of suspended running back Adrian Peterson (due in a Texas court Oct. 8 on a child abuse charge for whipping his 4-year-old son). CBS, which kicked off its $275 million Thursday Night Football package Sept. 11 with strong ratings for a Ravens game, had one sponsor ask to be removed from the broadcast and another request its ads shift, likely away from a discussion of the violence issue during CBS Sports’ pregame report. CBS declined to identify the sponsors.”

  2. Skin Game Blues says:

    “Former NFL player tackles homelessness after living under LA freeway” http://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-nfl-player-tackles-homelessness-after-living-under-la-freeway/ Terry Tautolo began his football career at UCLA, where he was part of the 1976 team that won the Rose Bowl. After graduation, he was drafted by San Francisco 49ers and won his first Super Bowl with the team in 1981. In 2012 damage from concussions ended Tautolo’s career after nine years, and he fell into homelessness. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_traumatic_encephalopathy also NFL Concussion Litigation http://nflconcussionlitigation.com/

  3. Game On says:

    “Just why does the NFL have tax-exempt status?” http://blogs.reuters.com/stories-id-like-to-see/2014/09/23/just-why-does-the-nfl-have-tax-exempt-status/ How could the NFL – which helps negotiate billions in media and promotion deals for its member teams and which itself reported an operating profit of more than $9 million and $326 million in “program service revenue” – be given nonprofit tax-exempt status? Simple, IRS regulations conveniently include ‘Professional football leagues’ as eligible 501c(6) organizations, while the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball are not entitled to that tax-exempt status.

  4. Oofty Goofty says:

    Congressional report says NFL waged improper campaign to influence government study At least a half-dozen top NFL health officials waged an improper, behind-the-scenes campaign last year to influence a major U.S. government research study on football and brain disease, congressional investigators have concluded in a new report. http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/15667689/congressional-report-finds-nfl-improperly-intervened-brain-research-cost-taxpayers-16-million
    The 91-page report describes how the NFL pressured the National Institutes of Health to strip the $16 million project from a prominent Boston University researcher and tried to redirect the money to members of the league’s committee on brain injuries. The study was to have been funded out of a $30 million “unrestricted gift” the NFL gave the NIH in 2012. After the NIH rebuffed the NFL’s campaign to remove Robert Stern, an expert in neurodegenerative disease who has criticized the league, the NFL backed out of a signed agreement to pay for the study, the report shows. Taxpayers ended up bearing the cost {$16M} instead.

  5. Sis-boom-bah says:

    Was Aaron Hernandez a murderer and a victim of suicide because he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)? Are the New England Patriots and NFL liable for Hernandez’s CTE?
    These and related questions now take on legal significance. (Sports Illustrated Sept 21, 2017) https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/21/aaron-hernandezs-cte-diagnosis-affect-potential-lawsuit-nfl-patriots On Thursday, attorney Jose Baez, who along with Harvard Law School Professor Ronald Sullivan successfully defended Hernandez in his Boston murder trial in April, announced that Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Patriots and NFL on behalf of her and Hernandez’s four-year-old daughter, Avielle Janelle Hernandez. In her complaint, Jenkins-Hernandez contends that the Patriots and NFL were negligent in their care of Hernandez. The family demands that the Patriots and NFL should pay Avielle $20 million in damages for loss of parental consortium.
    The possibility of such a lawsuit was extensively covered in a Sports Illustrated article published in April (see link). That possibility is now a reality.

  6. PUP List says:
  7. Hut! says:

    President Donald Trump’s financial connections to the NFL go well beyond Stephen Ross, the Miami Dolphins owner who faced backlash for hosting a fundraiser for the president.
    At least nine NFL owners have given to various committees related to Trump’s inauguration and election efforts.
    Trump has a complicated relationship with the NFL, as he has tried to own teams and created conflict with the league over players kneeling during the national anthem.
    (CNBC 8/12/19) https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/12/trump-ties-to-nfl-owners-go-deeper-than-stephen-ross-bob-kraft.html

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