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US Congressman accuses LIV CEO Greg Norman of promoting Saudi ‘propaganda’ | Golf Leaf Series


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Greg Norman faced accusations of promoting Saudi “propaganda” after meetings with lawmakers in Washington, as the Australian golfer sought to rally support for the Saudi-backed LIV series in its bitter dispute with the PGA Tour.

Norman, who is CEO of LIV and has been the public face of the breakaway tour, ostensibly came to the US capital this week to criticize what he called “the PGA’s anti-competitive efforts” to stifle life.


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But – apart from some lawmakers who allegedly sought their photo with Norman – the Saudi tour instead faced a backlash from both Democrats and Republicans, who defended the PGA and accused LIV of being more than sports car for the kingdom.

Tim Burchett, a Tennessee Republican congressman, left a Republican Study Committee meeting on Wednesday during which dozens of his party colleagues met with Norman, expressing his displeasure that lawmakers were periodically debating golf backed by Saudi money. Norman Land LIV was also called “Propaganda”.

“We need to get out of bed with these people. They are bad actors. We need to keep them at arm’s length,” Burchett told the Guardian, citing the September 11 attacks on the United States, The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal KhashoggiAnd the kingdom’s treatment of homosexuals and women, which he described as “only unacceptable.”

While Burchett is a conservative Republican, LIV has also come under fire from the left. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin He said earlier this month on Twitter That the LIV Tour was using a ‘golf glove [to] He tried to hide a bloodstained hand” for the Saudi government. He added that the series was part of a “continuous desperate attempt to clean up [Saudi Arabia’s] picture”.

Durbin added in a second tweetMoney should not be allowed to cover up the murder and dismemberment of a journalist or to imprison and harass activists such as Raif Badawi, Waleed Abu al-Khair and Salma al-Shehab.

LIV spokesman Jonathan Grella said, “Greg Norman had a very productive day on Capitol Hill today in front of about 60 members of Congress. His message about the benefits of competition was well received, even if two members of Congress said otherwise.”

Even like LIV and PGA Involved in litigation in the United States Including allegations that the PGA has engaged in anti-competitive practices, some lawmakers have questioned whether supporters of the Saudi-backed tour, which is owned by Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fundmust be registered as foreign clients of the Kingdom.

Department of Justice rules require agents of “foreign chiefs” who engage in “political activities” to disclose their relationship to the foreign principal — in this case, Saudi Arabia — as well as receipts, contracts, and payments supporting those activities. The Department of Justice has significantly strengthened its enforcement of such rules – known as Foreign Agent Registration Law (Fara) – Over the past 12 months, charges have been brought against individuals the ministry deemed to have acted as foreign agents without disclosing their activities.

Chip Roy, a conservative Republican congressman from Texas, called in a letter in July for the Justice Department to investigate “potential violations” of the FARA rules.

“kingdom Kingdom Saudi Arabia She transfers funds through the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to stand on LIV Golf as a PR training. In other words, foreign government dollars are used to promote that government’s brand and standing here in the United States.

In an interview with the Guardian, a legal expert said that businesses owned by foreign governments sometimes escape scrutiny, but not when they are owned by a country’s sovereign wealth fund, and not when there are legitimate questions about whether the company also has public relations goals. Involve the country’s image abroad.

“I think there is a lot of evidence that LIV is not a typical business interest. I think there are a lot of reasons why the Department of Justice is causing tires to kick in this way. I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Matt Sanderson, an attorney at Caplin & Drysdale who specializes in FARA cases. If they do.” It’s also unclear whether LIV intends to turn a profit in the long term, Sanderson said, raising further questions about its intentions.

He added that while he did not believe golfers who signed with the LIV would have to personally file under Fara, he said any individuals who speak to government officials or engage in public relations activities will likely be subject to scrutiny if they do not disclose their data. Activity.

Asked if LIV officials would file under Fara, Grella said: “Our lawyers have told us that is not applicable.”