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EXCLUSIVE: Sen. John Cornyn, Texasquestioned the timing of the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation into the PGA Tour’s possible anticompetitive actions against LIV Golf in a letter to President Biden obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital on Thursday.
Ministry of Justice Earlier this week, the PGA Tour launched an investigation into potentially anti-competitive practices, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The investigation coincided with Biden’s trip to the Middle East, which will culminate in a trip to Saudi Arabia.
“I’m concerned whether members of the DOJ Antitrust Division or any other member of your administration were involved in the investigation that was recently made public,” Cornyn wrote to Biden. “I also have questions about whether your administration has been in contact with government of saudi arabia about the investigation, neither before its discovery, nor after.
The senator wrote that he wanted to highlight Saudi Arabia’s influence on Americans, and the Justice Department’s investigation could have “repercussions for both our nation’s foreign policy and domestic transparency.”
“Saudi Arabia has a history of covert and at times malicious behavior in its attempts to influence American public policy and freedom of speech in our own country,” Kornin said in his letter. “In 2016, the Saudi Arabian government used front non-profit organizations to trick several American veterans into lobbying on its behalf for the Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act (PL 114-222). In 2018, Saudi operatives killed American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. inside your own consulate.
“It was a terrible act of transnational repression. Those who ordered this crime have not yet been held accountable. Despite these actions, Saudi Arabia continues to easily participate on the world stage, knowing that it can lobby, influence and engage in malicious activities without repercussions. “
Cornyn asked to answer 10 questions regarding the PGA Tour investigation:
- Did anyone in your administration speak to anyone in the press, informally or otherwise, about LIV Golf or the PGA Tour investigation prior to the Wall Street Journal’s request for comment?
- Has the Saudi government, or any agent of that government, contacted anyone in your administration about the LIV Golf or PGA Tour investigation?
- Did the Saudi Arabian government, or any agent of that government, prompt any member of your administration to launch an investigation into the PGA Tour?
- Did the Saudi government, or any agent of that government, approach anyone in your administration about a possible discussion of the investigation with any member of the press prior to your July visit to Saudi Arabia?
- Did the Saudi government, or any agent of that government, approach anyone in your administration to discuss the PGA Tour investigation during your July trip to Saudi Arabia?
- If so, what was the nature of any discussion?
- Has there been any lobbying effort by the Saudi Arabian government regarding media coverage of the investigation or the investigation itself?
- If so, did these lobbying efforts meet all of the registration requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)?
- How did your administration enforce FARA during your discussions with any foreign agents of the Saudi government on these matters?
- What is the status of the investigation?
Cornyn’s letter to Biden came the day after being a member of the House of Representatives. Chip Roy, R-Texas urged the Department of Justice to demand LIV Golf register as a “foreign agent” of Saudi Arabia.
LIV Golf backed by money from the Saudi Arabian State Investment Fund, with Greg Norman acting as CEO and authorized rival tour.
Golfers who choose to play in the league have been accused of helping Saudi Arabia “sport launder” when the government uses the sport to divert attention from its human rights history. Among the issues raised in the past few months was Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Khashoggi killing.
Since the beginning of LIV Golf, the PGA Tour has penalized players who chose to compete on a competitive tour without being allowed to compete, or have those players’ memberships revoked.