House Appropriations Committee Passes Amendment That Could Threaten One Of WWE’s Biggest Sponsorships

An amendment passed today by the House Appropriations Committee could threaten WWE’s partnership with the National Guard as the bill would prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to sponsor professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, or other sporting events or competitors.

Below is the official press release sent out by Congresswoman Betty McCollum out of Minnesota:

For Immediate Release: May 17, 2012
Contact: Maria Reppas, (202) 225-6631 / (202) 527-0149 maria.reppas@mail.house.gov

Ends sponsorships costing taxpayers $1 billion over the past decade

Washington, DC – Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment offered by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) to the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Appropriations bill prohibiting taxpayer funds from being “…used to sponsor professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, or other sporting events or competitors.” The amendment passed the committee on a voice vote and will be included as the nearly $608 billion defense funding bill moves to the floor of the U.S. House for consideration.

The Department of Defense is spending more than $80 million this year to sponsor NASCAR racing teams, Indy racing, professional bass fishing, pro-wrestling, and ultimate fighting. In 2011 and 2012, the National Guard alone has spent $121 million on professional sponsorships, including $20 million for professional fishing and $90 million for NASCAR, Indy car, and motorcycle racing. Over the past five years the National Guard’s sponsorship of NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his #88 team has cost taxpayers over $136 million. This taxpayer spending will all come to an end if the “Kingston-McCollum” amendment becomes law.

“At a time when Congress is increasing defense spending by cutting ‘Meals on Wheels’ for vulnerable seniors and nutrition programs for hungry children, it’s time to eliminate wasteful Pentagon spending on NASCAR, fishing and ultimate fighting sponsorships that have nothing to do with our national security,” McCollum said.

“If the private sector wants to demonstrate their patriotism by sponsoring military racing teams, I say fantastic! But for taxpayers to pay for racing and bass fishing teams is a ridiculous waste of money,” McCollum concluded.

Republican Congressman Jack Kingston, representing Georgia’s 1st Congressional District said, “We may disagree on some things but on this we should be able to come together. The government borrows forty cents for every dollar it spends and this is where we’re spending it? In the face of deep cuts and troop force reductions, the military should not be spending nearly $100 million sponsoring professional sports. After Congresswoman McCollum brought this issue up last year, the Pentagon had a year to justify this spending but they have not. They have had the chance to prove me wrong but I just don’t see how seeing a logo on their favorite racecar or on a fisherman’s visor is going to encourage someone to join the military.”

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  • WNW Fan

    "I just don’t see how seeing a logo on their favorite racecar or on a fisherman’s visor is going to encourage someone to join the military.”

    I understand the argument but not seeing a logo isn't going to get them to join either. Here's a thought…if you want to cut spending how about Congress take a pay cut? They want us to cut back but they'll vote themselves a pay raise and think nothing of it!

    • Chris

      Not seeing a logo will not get them to join, yes, you’re right, but it’ll also not cost the taxpayer MILLIONS of dollars. Do you pay taxes?

  • Kevin

    There are plenty of companies out there who would be willing to shell out the money to sponser professional sports. Our tax dollars do NOT need to be spent on such frivalous items. I applaud these two Representatives for doing what they were hired to do: REPRESENT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. The wasteful spending of tax dollars on NASCAR and such is a good way to start stemming the bleeding of money out of Washington. The next step would be to give themselves a paycut instead of a payraise, but we all know that will never happen. I'd settle for Congress locking in its current payscale for 20 years, with no raises allowed during that time.