Sexism Persists at Masters Golf Tournament
WASHINGTON, DC – As the sports world descends upon Augusta National Golf Club today for the 72nd Masters Tournament, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14) is renewing her effort to pass the Ending Tax Breaks for Discrimination Act (H.R. 1817), legislation that would prohibit income tax deductions for expenses at clubs with “no women allowed” membership policies. Augusta, the host of the Masters Tournament since its inception in 1934, is one such club that does not allow female members.
“It’s unconscionable to think that sexism like this persists in 2008. 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,” said Rep. Maloney. “American taxpayers deserve to know that they are subsidizing discrimination like this. These unfair write-offs should be driven off the golf course and out of our tax code.”
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently allows people to deduct business expenses associated with private clubs from their federal income taxes. This includes business-related expenses for conventions, travel, accommodations, and advertising. Business expenses that are directly associated with promoting and doing business at these clubs, as well as fifty percent of business meals, are also allowable. Dues are not deductible.
There are over 3000 private country clubs in the U.S. It is not currently known how many of these clubs discriminate against women, but at least 24 men-only clubs have been identified in the popular press.
“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,” Rep. Maloney continued. “I thank Martha Burk for courageously weathering the slings and arrows and taking a principled stand for American women. I only wish ExxonMobil, IBM, and the other corporate sponsors of the Masters would do the same.”
The Ending Tax Breaks for Discrimination Act would:
• Prohibit the deduction of business expenses at clubs that discriminate on the basis of sex, race or color. This include any amount paid or incurred to any private discriminatory club for the use of services or facilities, and for transportation, meals, lodging, and other traveling expenses incurred in connection with the use of any private discriminatory club.
• Prohibit the deduction of any amount paid or incurred for advertising at any event held at any facility of a private discriminatory club, or 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.
Rep. Maloney reintroduced the Ending Tax Breaks for Discrimination Act in 2007: http://maloney.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1314&Itemid=61.
Last year, she 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.
Rep. Maloney has fought side-by-side with Martha Burk, the Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, to end discrimination at Augusta National and other similar clubs across the country.