The California Secretary of State’s office has updated its lobbying spending records for the 4th quarter of 2013 on Friday, and the totals are in: USA Swimming spent a total of $77,627.20 in their efforts to fight Senate Bill 131.
SB 131 would have extended the period of civil liability that courts found culpable in cases of childhood sexual abuse, based on the theory that some of the psychological damage caused by this type of sexual abuse doesn’t manifest itself until long after the abuse has been committed, or that victims don’t make the connection between personal problems and the abuse they faced until well into adulthood.
According to California state documents, USA Swimming paid a total of $60,000 ($4.95 of which is listed as reimbursed expense) to the firm Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni LLP, divided to $45,000 in the 3rd quarter of 2013, and an additional $15,000 in the 4th quarter, when the bill was ultimately vetoed after passing both houses of California’s Senate.
The additional $17,627.20 (the bulk of which was paid in the 4th quarter) is listed as “OTHER PAYMENTS” with no specific reason or recipient of those payments.
USA Swimming has already said that they are “not currently considering opposing” new bills brought by California Senator Jim Beall. These two new bills are similar to SB 131, except that they will extend civil liability for governmental agencies (SB 131 only applied to private companies) and also extend statutes of limitations for criminal complaints.
USA Swimming wasn’t the only sporting organization to oppose SB 131, according to California records. Though they never made any payments on the matter, USA Table Tennis, based out of Colorado Springs as well, did file a “Lobbying Firm Activity Authorization” for the same firm as USA Swimming to oppose SB 131.
The full lobbying records of USA Swimming in California for 2013-2014 can be found on the State of California’s website here.