A senator from Oregon introduced legislation this week that would strip the PGA Tour of its tax-exempt status.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate finance committee, introduced two bills Wednesday, the Sports League Tax-Exempt Status Limitation Act and the Ending Tax Breaks for Massive Sovereign Wealth Funds Act.
The PGA Tour is a 501(c)(6) organization, a status allowing tax exemptions for professional sports leagues and chambers of commerce. Wyden’s concern is the Tour’s tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(6) organization and how that would change if the proposed framework agreement creates a for-profit entity between the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and PGA Tour.
“Most of America’s big pro sports leagues gave up their tax exemptions voluntarily when their revenues climbed into the stratosphere, and they hadn’t even shamed themselves with Saudi blood money,” Wyden said. “An organization that betrays its own word and agrees to become a profit generator for Saudi Arabia’s brutal regime has disqualified itself for a tax exemption.”
The Sports League Tax-Exempt Status Limitation Act would adjust current tax code to exclude sports organizations with assets exceeding $500 million. The Ending Tax Breaks for Massive Sovereign Wealth Funds Act would deny that benefit to funds belonging to countries that have more than $100 billion invested globally.
“Many of the biggest sovereign wealth funds out there belong to countries that do not have our interests at heart, and there’s no good reason for hardworking American taxpayers to have to subsidize their huge profits,” Wyden said.
In June, Senator Wyden opened an investigation into the financial structure and implications of the proposed PGA Tour-Saudi deal, citing censorship and national security concerns given the tour’s real estate holdings near U.S. military sites.