Demand Sent As President Trump and Vice President Pence Use Public Office to Attack NFL, XFL’s Direct Competitor
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Democracy Forward filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for records documenting any involvement by SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, or other Trump Administration officials, in Vince McMahon’s efforts to re-launch the XFL.
The demand letter follows the announcement of the reboot of the XFL, a failed professional football league launched in partnership with NBC in 2001. The new venture, originally positioned as an alternative to the National Football League (NFL), follows President Trump’s repeated criticisms of the NFL and players who have chosen to protest racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem.
According to reports, XFL players would be required to stand for the National Anthem, and those with criminal records, including DUIs, would not be permitted to join the league. President Trump’s sustained Twitter attacks on the First Amendment rights of NFL players have been widely documented:
At least 24 players kneeling this weekend at NFL stadiums that are now having a very hard time filling up. The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem. Weak and out of control!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
“The Trump Administration has shown that it is not above using the power of the Oval Office to play favorites,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “Given President Trump’s history of using his bully pulpit to target private companies that don’t kiss the ring, the public deserves to know whether there is any interference or favoritism involved here.”
The request comes as speculation mounts regarding whether Mr. McMahon’s venture would stand to benefit financially from “a few tweets and public shows of support from President Trump.
In the FOIA request filed today, Democracy Forward seeks communications and records among SBA officials related to Vince McMahon, the XFL, and the NFL.
Read the full FOIA request here.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.