Bombshell Report: David Perdue “Privately Pushed” for Lucrative Tax Breaks for Rich Sports Team Owners

November 20, 2020

“Perdue has taken more than $425,000 from the owners of professional sports teams and their relatives”

Meanwhile, Perdue is on vacation despite failing to deliver key pandemic relief for Georgia workers and families

ATLANTA — A devastating new report revealed that Senator David Perdue, who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the owners of professional sports clubs and their families, privately pushed for wealthy sports owners to receive a lucrative tax break. The news comes days after reports exposed Perdue for appearing to use his chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee to line his own pockets.

Congressional experts noted that Perdue’s “in-the-weeds lobbying” on “obscure tax regulation” was clearly “unusual,” and would only impact “a small set of the richest Americans” and some of Perdue’s “largest donors.”

Senator Perdue “was one of the 2017 tax bill’s biggest boosters,” and continues to promote the massive giveaway to corporate special interests and the wealthiest Americans that would “likely make income inequality worse.”

“Senator Perdue will go out of his way to make the richest Americans even richer, but now, when Georgians desperately need more economic relief during this pandemic, Perdue has failed to deliver,” said Braxton Brewington, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “Perdue’s priority has never been hard-working Georgia families, and that’s why in January, voters will ensure this is his last term in the United States Senate.”

ProPublica: Georgia Senator David Perdue Privately Pushed for a Tax Break for Rich Sports Teamowners

  • Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., privately pushed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to give wealthy sports owners a lucrative tax break last year, according to a previously unreported letter obtained by ProPublica.”
  • “After the 2017 tax bill championed by President Donald Trump passed, Mnuchin and the Treasury had to write rules on how the legislation would work in practice. Of the hundreds of pages of new regulations the agency developed, Perdue wrote about his concern with one extremely narrow rule: The owners of professional sports teams were being excluded from a valuable tax break being granted to many other businesses that are structured so that the companies don’t pay taxes but the owners do.
  • “Many such letters on regulatory matters are signed by multiple senators, sometimes dozens. But in this case Perdue alone wrote and signed the letter. Why Perdue got interested in an obscure tax regulation, which would impact at most only a small set of the richest Americans, is unclear. Perdue was not on the committee that crafted the legislation, making his in-the-weeds lobbying on the arcane regulation unusual, congressional experts said.
  • “The Treasury ultimately declined to adopt the revision Perdue sought. If the regulation had been altered as Perdue wanted, it would have been a boon for some of his largest donors. Perdue has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the owners of professional sports clubs, including now-fellow Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who co-owns Atlanta’s WNBA team, the Dream.”
  • “Perdue’s office did not answer questions about why he sent the letter or whether he discussed the matter with any sports team owners.”
  • “Jon Ossoff, Perdue’s Democratic challenger, has cast Perdue as a member of the Washington “swamp” who caters to the interests of corporate donors.”
  • Perdue was one of the 2017 tax bill’s biggest boosters, publicly describing it as a windfall for average Americans. “A single mom making $41,000 with a child is going to get a 75% tax cut,” he told a reporter when it passed. “This is a great day for the middle class.”
  • “Before Perdue became a senator in 2015, he was a top executive for a string of companies, including Reebok, where in the early 2000s the company inked major licensing deals with the NFL, the NBA and the NHL.”
  • “A review of his campaign contributions shows that Perdue has taken more than $425,000 from the owners of professional sports teams and their relatives. Some of the top donors include the DeVos family, which owns the Orlando Magic; John Ingram, who owns the Nashville SC soccer team; Los Angeles Kings owner Philip Anschutz; and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.”
  • On the same day Perdue sent Mnuchin the letter, he received $3,000 in donations from three lobbyists at GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group, a lobbying firm that was representing the Atlanta Braves. Because of the Braves’ ownership structure, it’s unlikely the team would have been affected by the regulation, but around that time, MLB was lobbying on the rule, urging the Treasury to give its team owners the tax break.”
  • “Perdue’s campaign expenditures suggest he was in Atlanta that day, Jan. 23, 2019. One of the lobbyists who contributed, John “Trip” Martin, said he couldn’t recall if the contribution was made at a fundraiser but said he did not discuss the tax exemption with Perdue.”
  • “Another Perdue donor in the sports world is Loeffler. Before being picked by Georgia’s governor to fill a vacant Senate seat in late 2019, Loeffler and her husband were prominent members of the business community and major donors to Republicans in the state and nationally.
  • “Together, the couple has given about $70,000 in campaign contributions to Perdue. Mary Brock, who co-owns the Dream with Loeffler, has given Perdue more than $38,000. Loeffler did not respond to questions about whether she discussed the tax break regulation with Perdue.”
  • “Perdue’s January 2019 letter amounted to an effort to shift those lines to the benefit of sports team owners. He asked that Mnuchin “allow owners of professional sports teams to claim a Section 199A deduction,” using the formal legal citation for the tax break.”
  • “Perdue also spoke on the phone to Mnuchin while the regulation was being hashed out in late November 2018, according to the Treasury secretary’s public calendar.”

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