Government shouldn't feed multimillionaire athletes' arrogance — and squander tax dollars — by lavishing public money on their charities over deserving charities that lack superstars' name recognition and personal wealth.
Yet that's what federal and state officials have done in a dozen cases revealed by a Trib investigation. And that often leads athletes' charities to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists that otherwise could go toward charitable endeavors.
In 2010, for example, tennis great Andre Agassi's Las Vegas educational foundation had $82.2 million — yet received taxpayer-funded solar panels and electric-car power ports, earmarked by tax-and-spend Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Since 2000, it also has received a staggering $64.3 million in other state and federal help — and earned a “dismal one-star rating” from watchdog Charity Navigator for its fundraising expenses and lack of independent oversight.
Between 2004 and 2008, two nonprofits founded by golfer Tiger Woods received about $7.8 million in public money. Pittsburgh native Dan Marino's Florida-based foundation has taken $1.6 million from government since 2006. And the list goes on.
Taxpayers' pain offsets whatever good these superstars' charities do with public money. And their enablers in government also hobble less glamorous charities' work by diverting attention and funding to the already rich and famous.
It's time for this practice to stop.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.