WASHINGTON – Four lawmakers, including a former college football kicker, are urging the Internal Revenue Service to "thoroughly examine" a tax complaint filed against three premier college football bowls.
Playoff PAC, a political action committee that wants the bowls replaced with a championship playoff system, recently filed the IRS complaint against the operators of the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange Bowls. They are three of the five games that constitute the Bowl Championship Series (the other two are the Rose Bowl and the BCS title game). The complaint accuses the three bowls of violating their tax-exempt status by paying excessive salaries and perks, providing "sweetheart loans" and doing undisclosed lobbying.
"As public charities that take in millions of dollars each year, they receive significant tax exemptions and benefits that must not be abused," wrote the four House members in a letter to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. The lawmakers, all critics of the BCS, added: "We therefore ask that you act on our request and thoroughly examine these troubling claims" made about the bowls.
An IRS spokeswoman said the agency was prohibited from commenting on any specific taxpayer situation, case or allegation.
The letter was signed by Texas Republican Joe Barton, who has sponsored legislation aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system to determine its national champion; Wyoming Republican Cynthia Lummis, a co-sponsor of Barton's bill; Texas Democrat Gene Green, who has co-sponsored a resolution calling for a playoff system and for a Justice Department investigation; and Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, a former BYU kicker.
The Fiesta Bowl declined to comment, and officials from the Sugar and Orange bowls did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The bowls said last month in response to the complaint that they fully comply with tax laws and rules.