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Pentagon Won’t Release Details Of Millions In NFL Sponsorships, Senator Says

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The Pentagon is delaying an investigation into its sponsorship of National Football League teams, says GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Flake requested detailed information on the costs of sports sponsorship programs, but according to Brad Carson, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the data won’t be ready until March 2016, Stars and Stripes reports.

“The department agrees that using valuable recruiting resources to pay outside entities to honor our brave servicemen and women is a concerning practice that requires scrutiny,” Carson admitted recently to Flake.

Flake asked for details on all sports contracts dating back to 2009.

“It is troubling, given that this topic has been the subject of considerable attention nationwide, that nearly two months after the original request for information, the Department of Defense finally responded and yet provided no additional information beyond what was already uncovered and available in the public domain,” Flake stated in a letter to the DOD.

Flake isn’t the only one interested in a full report on claims that the Pentagon spent $7 million dollars in exchange for sports teams to pay tribute to the service of U.S. troops. The Government Accountability Office and other military services have also opened files on the issue.

Further investigation in April revealed contracts with Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and other professional sports leagues.

The DOD provided data reaching back to 2011, showing which teams received funds. The Baltimore Ravens received $799,000, Atlanta Falcons received $1,049,500 and the Green Bay Packers took in $600,000, among others.

In June, Sens. Jeff Flake, John McCain and Richard Blumenthal forwarded an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which blocks the practice down the road.

“Every fan, whether united by team or divided by rivalry, comes together to thank those who have served and sacrificed on our nation’s behalf,” McCain said, according to National Journal. “That’s why I and so many other Americans were shocked and disappointed to learn that several NFL teams weren’t sponsoring these activities out of the goodness of their own hearts but were doing so to make an extra buck.”

But according to the DOD, sponsorship of sports teams is a valuable recruitment tool, especially given that college and low unemployment rates have made it more difficult to bring in new recruits.

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