Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rush Cosponsors Legislation to Stop Taxpayers Subsidies for Fined Sports Owners

May 1, 2014
Press Release

Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (IL-01) joined his colleagues in addressing the wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money who pick up the tab for professional sports owners fined by their leagues. Rush cosponsored the Stop Penalizing Taxpayers for Sports Owners Act of 2014. Many Americans are not aware that when a professional sports owner is fined by his or her respective league, for violating the rules of that league, taxpayers get penalized at the same time.

“This is a major concern,” said Rush. “As in the case with NBA owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, whose racist rant resulted in his banishment from the National Basketball Association for life in addition to a record $2.5 million fine, Sterling could deduct it as a business expense. That doesn’t send the right message to taxpayers and it eliminates all incentives for owners to behave properly.”

When a professional sports team owner is fined by his or her league, the IRS code currently allows the owner to write off the fine as a business expense. That means owners are receiving a tax break for egregious behavior, and that tax break is a burden shouldered by all Americans. This tax loophole is unacceptable. The Stop Penalizing Taxpayers for Sports Owners Act of 2014 legislation will close that loophole, ensuring that sports owners are the only people who bear fiscal accountability for their behavior.

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