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PGA Gives Money to Leaders

 Speaker John A. Boehner
 Speaker John A. Boehner

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.

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.

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.