TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Taxpayers unwitting donors to athletes' charities

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Related Stories

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Carl Prine and Rob Rossi
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — Several foundations run by athletes during the past decade received tens of millions of tax dollars through government grants or earmarks from members of Congress.

A Tribune-Review analysis found:

• $28.4 million in federal, state and local government aid for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation's anti-crime programs and a ballpark in Maryland;

• Nearly $7.8 million went to two educational nonprofits of billionaire golfer Tiger Woods;

• About $6 million each went to former tennis star Andre Agassi's Las Vegas educational nonprofit and the cancer charity started by bicyclist Lance Armstrong;

• More than $500,000 went to the Mario Lemieux Foundation for hospital playrooms and a cancer awareness campaign.

The Ripken charity, founded in 2001 by former Baltimore Orioles infielders Cal Ripken Jr. and his brother, Billy, to honor their deceased dad, a former Major League Baseball manager, derived 45 percent of its revenue over nine years from taxpayers.

Most of the money that the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation received went to federal juvenile crime prevention programs — often without proof that the spending made a difference.

“We're going to do, every single day of the week, whatever it takes to help save these kids' lives,” said Steve Salem, president of the Ripken foundation and a former Washington-based lobbyist. “Nobody benefited from that federal money, for example, except the kids.”

Some lawmakers have a different view. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican and former presidential candidate, spoke out on the House floor in 2007 against $1.5 million earmarked for the Ripkens' organization.

McCain warned fellow lawmakers that even when they mean well, “pork spending” on favored constituents “mortgages our children's future for our own political gain.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
  2. Derry boy recovering at home after high-profile intestinal transplant
  3. Newsmaker: Stephanie McMahon
  4. School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
  5. Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
  6. Judge adds 2 years to sentence of Baldwin Borough man acquitted of murder
  7. Tablets for Allegheny County Jail inmates deemed a success
  8. Amtrak still working to add bicycle racks to Western Pa. train routes
  9. Newsmaker: Jesabel I. Rivera-Guerra
  10. Pa. slot payout rate increases for a change
  11. Projects advance through Pittsburgh planning commission despite opposition