Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today highlighted the following egregious and unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars by the New Jersey Army National Guard (NJARNG):
Between $97,500 and $115,000* to the NFL’s New York Jets for “advertising and promotion” that fans may have assumed were genuine gestures to thank and recognize soldiers. Some of the federally funded feel-good moments the Jets were paid for include:
- “A videoboard feature – Hometown Hero. For each of their 8 home game [sic], the Jets will recognize 1-2 NJARNG Soldiers as Home Town Heroes. Their picture will be displayed on the videoboard, their name will be announced over the loud speaker, and they will be allowed to watch the game, along with 3 friends or family members, from the Coaches Club.”
- “Allow 10 NJARNG Soldiers to attend their Annual Kickoff Lunch in New York City. At the luncheon, the Soldiers will have the opportunity to meet and take pictures with various members of the Jets organization for promotional use for recruiting and retention purposes for the NJ Army National Guard.”
- “Allow NJARNG to participate in the Jets Hometown Huddle charity event in which Jets players and coaches will work side by side with the Soldiers to build or refurbish a community asset. i.e., build a new playground, rehab an existing park, etc for promotional use for recruiting and retention purposes for the NJ Army National Guard."
“This will probably stand as the biggest Draft Day bust for the Jets until 8 p.m.,” said Flake.
*While these examples come from a 2012 “Statement of Work” for an advertising and marketing contract between the NJARNG and the New York Jets, the NJARNG made two separate payments of $115,000 each to the Jets in 2013 and 2014. After an initial phone conversation seeking information on the payments, representatives from NJARNG did not return phone calls from Flake’s office.
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