USA Swimming Spent $77,627.20 on Lobbying Against SB 131 in 2013

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.

Read more about the two new bills here.

The full lobbying records of USA Swimming in California for 2013-2014 can be found on the State of California’s website here.

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It really lets you know what USA swimming is trying to protect. *cough* Their own salary. *cough*


I’m not sure i am in agreement with the bill either…. but it pisses me off that they are spending my money (swimming dues for my kids) to fight a bill that only serves their own self interests. I wonder if the AAU could again become the primary organization for organized competitive swimming in the U.S.? How does the authority work for things like governance, meet selections, etc? Can this change via a grass roots effort?


JMAN – The Amateur Sports Act of 1978 created the Olympic/National Governing Body setup that we have in place in the USA today. The USOC is charged with selecting US Olympic teams (in conjunction with NGB’s) and the NGB’s are charged with oversight of their sports and the National Federation. Price to this Sports Act, the AAU was responsible for all of this nationwide in most sports. Changing this would require changing legislation, etc., but, if you are truly talking grass roots effort this might not be where the attention needs to be focused. The grass roots efforts should be in every LSC across the nation from parents such as yourself to make changes within your LSC to guarantee that… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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