No WWE Lobbying? Why, Rick Santorum Handled the Account!

Jennifer Dlouhy of Hearst newspapers has a good one on how “outsider” Linda McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment has lobbied a time or two or thousand. See “WWE spent $1M on ‘educating’ politicians in last decade,” http://www.ctpost.com/default/article/McMahon-no-stranger-to-lobbyists-440708.php#page-1.

A chapter in my 2007 book Wrestling Babylon reprinted my 1988 article for The Washington Monthly, “The (Thwak!) Deregulation of (Thump!) Pro Wrestling,” which told the story of the then World Wrestling Federation’s earliest lobbying efforts. The big issue back then was freeing “sports entertainment” from onerous state athletic department regulations and, oh by the way, taxes on ticket and pay-per-view receipts. The accompanying public education campaign included planting a bulletin on the front page of The New York Times that wrestling was staged.

The young lawyer at the Pittsburgh law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart (now K&L Gates) who handled the McMahon family lobbying effort was a guy by the name of Rick Santorum.

“Family values,” you know.

Irv Muchnick

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