The latest news (H/T: Senator) with our old friend, US Representative Joe Barton, comes courtesy of Yahoo Sports.
A congressman said he plans to investigate testimony from Alamo Bowl executive director Derrick Fox at this month’s Bowl Championship Series subcommittee hearing after learning that Fox might have exaggerated by millions of dollars the amount bowl games donate to local charities.
How much did Mr. Fox exaggerate the amount that bowl games donate to local charities, you say?
In fact, 10 bowl games are privately owned and one is run by a branch of a local government. The remaining 23 games enjoy tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, but combined to give just $3.2 million to local charities on $186.3 million in revenue according to their most recent federal tax records and interviews with individual bowl executives.
What did our old pal have to say about this latest revelation?
“That doesn’t seem like something that’s really geared toward giving to charity, does it?” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) after being presented with Yahoo! Sports’ findings.
“It’s perjury if it’s knowingly said,” Barton said of the sworn testimony, which he called “misleading.” “It’s also contempt of Congress. You’ve got to give [him] some sort of due process, but ultimately the remedy is to hold [him] in contempt of Congress on the House floor or send it to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution of perjury under oath.”
It does seem credible that Mr. Fox’s claims were a little high.
Paul Hoolahan, the CEO of the Sugar Bowl and the chairman of the FBA, said that Fox’s charitable financial claim was high.
“If Derrick made that comment, that kind of invites, ‘OK, let’s go see how many tens of millions were involved here,’ ” Hoolahan said. “That sounds a little hyperbolic in the heat of battle here.”
Keep in mind that Mr. Fox’s comments were not made in a heated Q&A session. This came from a prepared statement. Honestly, I don’t know whether this is intentionally deceitful or not. My guess is that he wanted the bowls to come across as entities that despite the major revenues they produce, are in the end providing a benefit to the local communities that host the games and it makes sense to keep the system at status quo.
I understand the logic behind why an investigation could happen here. These bowls enjoy a tax-free status similar to churches and other non-profit organizations under the premise that they are a boon to the local economies and as such provide a vital service to these locales. This is a major issue because Uncle Sam is always going to get his cut if there’s a cut to be had. If the bowls are making tons of money, but pleading to maintain the tax-exempt status based on charitable contributions, then there is an issue at hand.
I also wonder if Mr. Fox just mis-spoke when he referred to the tens of millions of charitable dollars as going to “local charities”. Perhaps tens of millions of dollars do go to charities, just not all locally based organizations.
I do wonder what it is about college football that has seemed to be a burr in Representative Barton’s butt though. I just don’t understand the senseless pandering (and it is pandering) that he and his Congressional cronies have been doing the last couple of years as it relates to sports. I just don’t understand why investigating the BCS and steroids are Congressional priorities right now that my tax dollars are funding. I suppose people losing their homes left and right, losing their entire 401K’s, or losing their jobs in this current economy aren’t high on the totem pole for our Congressional leaders.