The Pentagon has paid more than $9 million to professional sports franchises the past four years, including $6.8 million to stage “paid patriotism” events, Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain disclosed Wednesday.
The events ranged from full-field displays of the American flag to enlistment and re-enlistment ceremonies and emotional reunion events where a service member returns to the surprise of family members.
“Unsuspecting audience members became the subjects of paid marketing campaigns rather than simply bearing witness to teams’ authentic, voluntary shows of support for the brave men and women who wear our nation’s uniform,” the report by the Arizona Republicans said.
“It is hard to understand how a team accepting taxpayer funds to sponsor a military appreciation game, or to recognize wounded warriors or returning troops, can be construed as anything other than paid patriotism,” it states. McCain is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
According to Politico more than10 million dollars of taxpayer money has been spent in the last four years alone:
In the report unveiled Wednesday, the two senators cataloged $879,000 spent by the Georgia Army National Guard with the Atlanta Falcons on color-guard performances and video board tributes and $450,000 spent by the same unit on the Atlanta Braves. Beyond Atlanta, investigators say the Defense Department paid the Seattle Sounders soccer team $128,000 over the past four years on “a compelling Army National Guard public service message” to be played at games and $115,000 spent was spent on the Indiana Pacers for perks including parking passes and access to a luxury conference room. College sports programs and NASCAR were also dinged by Flake and McCain, along with the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and MLS.
But the bulk of the spending was associated with the NFL, where four teams received more than $500,000 a piece over the past four years from Defense Department contracts.
I actually wrote about this back in May where I suggested that this program has likely been going on for far longer than the four years cited in this investigation, and that it is quite likely that taxpayer money was spent in various other places as well, such as cable news channels and reality shows.
Personally I have a very strong suspicion that if one were to follow the trail of evidence that it would lead right up to Dick Cheney's secret super villain hideout.
Hmm, I wonder if it is because of things like this report which convinced Sarah Palin's pet Senator to suggest doing away with the Senate?