** Editor’s Note: Nexstar’s CW property has an ongoing broadcast agreement with LIV Golf.
WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate put the PGA Tour and LIV Golf back in the hot seat as they are concerned over their pending deal.
The hearing Wednesday was looking into Saudi Arabia’s Public Interest Fund and why lawmakers said it should be subject to U.S. laws and oversight.
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal and other lawmakers announced they are ready to use their subpoena powers to investigate the deal between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-owned LIV Golf tour.
“It must be subject to United States law and oversight,” Blumenthal said.
The governor of the Saudi’s Public Interest Fund, or PIF, did not attend Wednesday’s hearing, but that’s not stopping Blumenthal from demanding all records related to PIF’s investment in the U.S.
“The issues here go beyond golf,” Blumenthal said.
A review of PIF’s SEC filings shows that its public U.S. holdings have increased from approximately $2.5 billion in 2018 to more than $38 billion today.
“If I was to evaluate on how many billions they’ve spent doing their sports washing,” Johnson said, “it doesn’t seem like they’re getting a good value for their dollar.”
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said buying influence in U.S. sports won’t change public perception of Saudi Arabia overnight.
“This is a long-term influence investment,” said Benjamin Freeman, Democratizing Foreign Policy Program Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft director. “You know it might take years, it might take decades. It’s going to be very subtle.”
Experts are concerned that the PGA-LIV Golf deal is just one part of Saudi Arabia’s campaign to ensure the Crown Prince isn’t held accountable for human rights offenses.
“He’s increasing his economic power immensely,” said Joey Shea, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates Human Rights Watch researcher, “and as I said, has unilateral control over the PIF.”