TribLIVE

| Sports


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

Taxpayers unwitting donors to athletes' charities

Related Stories
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.”

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Veteran NBC newsman Brokaw says his cancer is in remission
  2. Steelers clinch playoff berth with win over Chiefs
  3. Downie, Farnham bring edge to Penguins lineup
  4. Steelers notebook: Gay respects ‘anything’ referees call
  5. Outdoors notebook: Recruitment campaign fails in first year
  6. Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit
  7. Chiefs notebook: Trip not intentional, Walker maintains
  8. Chamber of Commerce’s water boy
  9. Phiadelphia police Commissioner Ramsey urges caution after shootings of officers
  10. New York farmers lament lost opportunity for natural gas riches with fracking ban
  11. Throughout the year, Pittsburgh’s sartorial winners inspire closet envy
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.