NTRA Horse PAC disburses $579,000 in latest political cycle

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: March 14, 2017

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s political action committee dispersed $579,900 during the 2015-16 political cycle—the third-highest two-year amount since it was created in 2002.

Horse PAC last year gave $290,500 to federal political candidates, the largest amount since 2008, the NTRA reported March 14. The committee supported 54 “in-cycle” candidates, and 51 of them won in the November election. The previous year’s total was $288,500.

The Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is a dues-paying board member of the NTRA and supports its legislative initiatives.

“Horse PAC continues to play a vital role in the NTRA’s efforts on Capitol Hill,” Horse PAC President Margaret E. Hendershot said in a release. “Members of Congress remain our strongest link to legislation and regulation that will help our industry grow and thrive.”

The Horse PAC annual report details legislative activities for the 2015-16 congressional cycle and provides an overview of the NTRA’s successful efforts to secure a regulatory change in the way that the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Treasury Department treat pari-mutuel winning for horseplayers. The regulatory change is expected to take effect within the next few months after an obligatory comment period that runs through March 30.

The committee said it gives bipartisan support to candidates who serve on congressional committees that oversee livestock and agricultural issues, Internet gambling, taxation, immigration, and the Interstate Horseracing Act; are established leaders; understand the issues in horse racing; have racetrack, off-track betting facilities, advance deposit wagering services; breeding farms, training centers, and other equine venues in their districts; are members of the Congressional Horse Caucus; and are emerging leaders who may warrant support.

Of the 2016 Horse PAC disbursements to federal candidates by state, Kentucky ranked first, followed by California, Texas, New York and Florida. As for disbursements to individual candidates for seats in the House of Representatives and Senate, 23 are Republicans and 18 are Democrats, according to the annual report.

The NTRA said its legislative team this year is working on tax reform, challenges to online wagering, and changes to immigration policy.

The Horse PAC board of directors is chaired by Bill Farish. More than 135 NTRA members, including many horseplayers who were first-time donors, contributed to the political action committee during the 2015-15 fundraising cycle.

The Horse PAC annual report can be viewed here.