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Waste Watch: Paying for Patriotism at Sporting Events

(WZTV)

NASHVILLE, TN - Millions of our tax dollars spent to buy patriotism at sporting events.

The Department of Defense is funding pregame activities like singing the national anthem or ceremonial first pitches while professional and college sports teams get credit for supporting the troops.

We're talking $53-million dollars in three years.

NFL teams, the NBA, even hockey and college sports are banking our defense dollars.

Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain are calling for a change in the way the Department of Defense is spending our tax dollars to sports teams and organizations.

Their report is blowing the whistle on what it calls "inappropriate and frivolous spending" on gifts, tickets and other perks in these professional sports contracts.

The Department of Defense points to recruitment as the reason it's spending this money though there is no measurement on whether any of this spending is actually helping.

One of the biggest contracts it has is with NASCAR.

In fiscal year 2015, our tax dollars funded more than $1.5 million dollars in paid patriotism to the racing club for race ride-alongs, among other perks.

The Senators say Americans deserve the ability to assume that tributes for our military members are genuine displays of national pride, not payment for patriotism.

None of Tennessee's sports teams are listed as taking tax dollars to honor our troops.

The Senators have been able to change the restrictions on Department of Defense spending on paid patriotism and it's sports advertising contracts.

And the NFL has pledged to return more than $700,000 to tax payers through clubs that honor military service members.

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