Earlier this year, we brought you the news and our analysis of one Democrat's plans to put an end to military sponsorships in NASCAR. Now Rep. Betty McCollum is renewing her effort to stop what she calls "absurd" spending.
In our original article, we made a case that the military's NASCAR sponsorships are actually a bargain--an argument the Pentagon also makes. But McCollum thinks the spending on NASCAR should take a back seat to other military programs and jobs facing the ax in budget legislation.
McCollum's proposal has already failed twice, according to TheHill, but she's hoping her new angle will find success. The plan is to attach an amendment to the 2012 Pentagon appropriations bill that restricts the military's spending on sporting events.
The restrictions would require Congressional review for any contract over $250,000--a requirement that would put all NASCAR sponsorships under scrutiny, as they have ranged from $7 million to more than $30 million over the past several years.
McCollum has criticized the results of military sponsorship in NASCAR on the basis of a lack of recruits and enlistment leads generated. The Pentagon responds that the sponsorships have worked to increase awareness of its programs, regardless of directly measurable returns. The Pentagon also says its sponsorships offer multi-million dollar ad exposure for a fraction of the cost of traditional ads. Lt. Col. Sherrie McCandless highlighted the sponsorship of the Air Guard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Richmond, VA as a prime example, saying it bought over $5 million in "advertising value" for just $645,000.
Once again the debate returns to the appearance of spending money on something as frivolous as a racing team while veterans face medical care cuts and reductions in benefits, weighed against the reality of the military's need to spend on advertising to bolster falling enlistment figures. Something has to give, clearly--but should it be NASCAR sponsorship?
Let us know what you think below.