“I’m really focused on what can be done, what is appropriate to do about the merger, given the possibility, the goal of sports-washing by the PGA," Blumenthal said Thursday when asked by Raw Story whether he would return or otherwise dispose of the $1,000 the PGA Tour Inc. Political Action Committee contributed to his re-election campaign committee in October, according to Federal Election Commission records.
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Blumenthal is one among several federal lawmakers to have received four- or five-figure contributions from the PGA's PAC in recent years, Federal Election Commission records indicate.
Others include Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who received $10,000 in 2021, and Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), who got $10,000 in 2022. Schumer and Thune could not immediately be reached for comment.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (C-SPAN)
While fairly uncommon, federal lawmakers may legally dispose of unwanted or surplus campaign cash by returning it, donating it to charity or disgorging it to the U.S. Treasury's general fund.
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Blumenthal, who defined "sports-washing" as “the use of investment in a sport to give credibility or to redeem the reputation of a country or interest that is in disrepute," said Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund "seems to be buying control of an American sport.”
Given this, "I think there is a role and responsibility for Congress” to investigate the matter, Blumenthal told Raw Story.
Blumenthal easily won a third term in the U.S. Senate in November.
The Saudi kingdom has been widely panned for repressive policies and human rights abuses, with Amnesty International accusing the nation's government of a litany of wrongdoings.
American intelligence agencies concluded in a report that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 assassination of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a leading critic of Saudi Arabia's government.