Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ticket Masters: Washington Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards basketball franchise and Verizon Center, has taken a bold stand against Democratic plans for ethics reform in Washington, D.C.

The company claims that any benefit to the public interest likely to result from curtailing the use of bribes by lobbyists eager to curry favor with lawmakers is far outweighed by its own need to profit from those bribes. Thus it will oppose efforts to close a loophole that allows lobbyists to furnish lawmakers with the best tickets. (The current law says lawmakers must pay face value for sports tickets, but stadium owners have circumvented the law by declining to put a value on individual luxury box tickets.)

“We support the concept of full and open disclosure on the part of lobbyists and lawmakers to comply with ethics standards,” says Matt Williams, senior vice president at WS&E. “However… this ban of tickets to sporting events as gifts will cause a negative impact on our business. Probably more than any other franchises in professional sports, Washington, D.C.-area teams count business from lobbyists as a contributing factor to our bottom line.”

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