It’s Springtime for the Men of Augusta National... But Still Winter for Women and Equality
with “No Women Allowed” Policy Still in Place at Augusta National Golf Club*
Washington, D.C. - As the sports world gears up for this week’s Masters Tournament, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14) has reintroduced the Ending Tax Breaks for Discrimination Act of 2007 (H.R. 1817), which prohibits income tax deductions for expenses at clubs with "no women allowed" membership policies. Augusta National Golf Club, the host of the Masters Tournament since its inception in 1934, does not allow female members.
“Golf courses are set up to allow fair competition between men and women, but at the Augusta National Clubhouse men have long had an unfair advantage,” said Rep. Maloney. “Men who belong to clubs like Augusta National reap financial benefits -either directly through tax deductions for business expenses or indirectly through career opportunities and board appointments- that women can’t get, just because they're women.”
“The American taxpayer shouldn’t be subsidizing discrimination, period,” Maloney continued. “These unfair writeoffs should be driven off the golf course and out of the tax code.”
For years, Maloney has fought side-by-side with Martha Burk, former Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, to end discrimination at Augusta National and other similar clubs across the country.
“Rocking the boat on behalf of justice and equality has never been easy, and powerful interests have lined up to protect the status quo at Augusta,” Maloney said. “I thank Martha Burk for courageously weathering the slings and arrows and taking a principled stand for American women. I only wish AT&T, ExxonMobil, IBM and the other corporate sponsors of the Masters would do the same.”
Yesterday, Maloney also introduced the Fair Play-Equal Access in Membership Resolution (H.Con.Res.107), which expresses the sense of the Congress that federal officials, whether elected or appointed, should not belong to clubs that discriminate on the basis of sex or race“This year, a new Chairman, Billy Payne, will take the helm at Augusta National,” Maloney concluded. “I urge Mr. Payne to rethink his club’s policy of discrimination against 51% of the American people.”Background on the Bill:Current Law:
Current Internal Revenue Code allows business expenses to be deducted from Federal income taxes that are associated with private clubs. This includes business related expenses for conventions, travel, accommodations, and advertising. Dues are not deductible. Business expenses that are directly associated with promoting and doing business at these clubs, as well as fifty percent of business meals, are allowable.
The Ending Tax Breaks for Discrimination Act:
Would deny the deduction for business expenses for use of clubs that discriminate on the basis of sex, race or color, including any amount paid or incurred
- to any private discriminatory club,
- for use of services or facilities of any private discriminatory club,
- for transportation, meals, lodging, and other traveling expenses or incurred in connection with use of any private discriminatory club;
Deny the deduction for any amount paid or incurred for
- advertising of any event held at any facility of a private discriminatory club,
- advertising for any product or service advertised on broadcast media during or associated with media coverage of any such event;
Define a private discriminatory club as any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation or other social purpose if the club restricts membership or use of services or facilities on the basis of sex, race or color; and
Require receipts for disallowed expenses to carry the printed statement, "The expenditures covered by this receipt are nondeductible for Federal income tax purposes."Scope of the Bill:There are over 3000 private country clubs in the U.S. It is currently not known how many of these clubs discriminate against women. At least twenty-four male-only clubs have been identified in the popular press.