Panel approves McCollum measure to ban spending on NASCAR

WASHINGTON — A U.S. House committee approved a Betty McCollum-backed provision on Thursday to end Defense Department spending on sponsorships for events like NASCAR.

McCollum and Republican Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia introduced the measure as an amendment to the 2013 defense spending bill. It prohibits taxpayer spending “…used to sponsor professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, or other sporting events or competitors.”

The Pentagon spent $80 million on such sponsorships last year. One of its most high-profile sponsorships, that of the National Guard for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 car, has cost $136 million over the past five years, according to McCollum’s office.

“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 in a statement.

The St. Paul Democrat has introduced this measure before, but it sputtered without Republican support.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by mark wallek on 05/18/2012 - 12:11 am.

    Decades of horrific waste

    It is shocking and very sad to look at how much capital has been wasted, utterly and thoroughly wasted, by nations of this planet and by ourselves in particular. Had we chosen the “terror of peaceful engagement” over the oh so familiar “crush kill destroy and do it with expensive and destructive machines and volunteer soldiers backed by private contractors” we would have been able to have a paradise on earth. Now, just wait another 50 years. Thankfully I will not be here.

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 05/18/2012 - 10:13 am.

    It’s simply advertising.

    It may even be cost-effective advertising at that.

    By the way, does this mean no Olympic sponsorship or advertising?

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/18/2012 - 11:08 am.

    It’s about time

    This is no different from having taxpayers fund an NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL team. It shouldn’t be happening. I’m something of a NASCAR fan, at least of the racing itself, but there’s no reason for the government to subsidize the sport, much less a particular team.

    On the other hand, maybe this practice is a precedent that Minnesota lawmakers and the Governor should have paid more attention to. Federal sponsorship would certainly lessen the burden on Minneapolis and Minnesota taxpayers for the latest monument to excess to be built for the Vikings. If ALL the taxpayers in the U.S. foot the bill for a new stadium, Minnesotans end up paying pennies instead of dollars. Sounds to me like a bill for Mrs. Bachmann to get behind – as soon as that “bridge to sprawl” gets built…

    • Submitted by Pete Barrett on 05/18/2012 - 02:07 pm.

      US Tax Payers Will SUbsidize the Stadium

      Most stadiums that are constructed across the US are financed by bonds whose interest is free from income taxes. I’m guessing that will be the case with the Vikes stadium here. It makes no difference to US tax payers if a new NFL or MLB stadium is built in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, or Toledo. Allowing the federal treasury to be scammed this way should be stopped. If the Tea Party is anything other than a corporate shill, it will demand this of it’s politicians. Don’t hold your breath.

  4. Submitted by frank watson on 05/19/2012 - 10:38 am.

    Getting Things Done

    Thanks Betty! You’re tackling yet another major wasteful project. No one more than you knows how to effectively recruit members of our Armed forces more than a Representative from the great state of Minnesota. I’m still waiting for you to even offer a suggestion or plan for an Energy Policy, Entitlement Programs (unless its Congress which has its own), affordable healthcare, deficit spending….

  5. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 05/21/2012 - 01:22 pm.

    wrong strategy

    Even as a fairly pacifist liberal, I can’t agree with this kind of meddling. If it’s her opinion – and it’s mine – that the military is too big, that’s fine, and it can and should be dealt with accordingly. But if the military has certain recruiting requirements it needs meet, then I’m content to let them decide how best to do it. This attacking the problem from the wrong end reminds me of Republican tactics.

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