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Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA



Jun 11, 2003
Press Release
[Washington, D.C.] “  A bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) and Rep. Brad Sherman (CA-27) would eliminate tax write-offs for corporations that use the 24 all-male golf clubs in the United States clubs for business purposes. Martha Burk, Chair of the National Council of Womens Organizations and critic of Augusta National Golf Club for its discriminatory policies, has worked closely with Reps. Maloney and Sherman, and she joined them today to announce the bills introduction.

"The American taxpayer should never pick up the tab for discrimination of any kind," said Maloney. "This bill sends the message that we are not stopping at Augusta. It is not about ending sexual discrimination at one club, its about ending sexual discrimination everywhere."

Sherman, who headed the nation's second largest tax agency, the California Board of Equalization said, "this bill is modeled after a California statute that has been working since 1987. Business entertainment should not be conducted at clubs which discriminate. In California, a discriminatory club must print on its receipts 'Not Deductible for California Income Tax Purposes.' Surely, federal tax law would not give a deduction when a white male obtains a business advantage by using a business facility not available to his competitors."

"The recent announcement by Augusta National Golf Club that it has been unable to attract Masters sponsors for the second year in a row clearly indicates that responsible corporations do not want to be associated publicly with clubs that discriminate," said Burk. "But neither should they benefit privately from tax deductions for lavish entertainment expenses incurred by CEOs and their cronies for events at such clubs, which cost the American taxpayer."

Current tax code permits full deduction of business expenses associated with business conventions and accommodations, and it allows for 50% deductions related to business meals “ all of which are commonly held at golf clubs.

The bills authors argue that not only do the clubs discriminatory policies run counter to numerous court decisions that put equality for all ahead of country club interests, but it also greatly disadvantages women in the business world. Golf and golf clubs are commonly used as a tool for business; the PGA sponsors a program, called "Golf: For Business & Life," that stresses the business opportunities golf provides.