N.J. senator Cory Booker aims to strip pro leagues of tax-exempt status

Tuesday September 16th, 2014

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has introduced legislation to strip several professional sports leagues, including the NFL, of their tax-exempt status.

The bill, which is called the Securing Assistance for Victim Empowerment (SAVE) Act, seeks to raise $100 million over 10 years for domestic violence assistance programs.

The NFL's handling of domestic violence has come under intense scrutiny in light of multiple high-profile cases involving players, including Ray Rice, Ray McDonald and Greg Hardy.

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The NFL gained tax-exempt status as a nonprofit in 1944. A designation in the tax code -- 501(c)(6) -- enables the league to function like a trade organization. The league office is not required to pay taxes but individual teams are.

The bill would impact leagues that are exempt under 501(c)(6) and make at least $10 million annually, including the U.S. Tennis Association, NHL and the Professional Golf Association.

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The NBA and MLB would not be affected.

Here are parts of a statement issued by Booker, from NJ.com:

“This legislation will help ensure that victims of domestic violence have the resources they need to break away from abusers and begin rebuilding their lives,” Sen. Booker said in a statement.

“Stopping domestic violence is a national priority that requires long-term, meaningful investment.” Booker said. “This common sense update to our tax laws would save more than $100 million over 10 years – money that can instead be used to pay for vital support programs that have seen their funding slashed in recent years due to sequestration and gridlock.”

Also on Tuesday, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced that she will introduce legislation aimed at eliminating the NFL's tax-exempt status because of the league's continued inaction against the Washington Redskins name.

- Chris Johnson

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