(L-R) US Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) speak to reporters about the minimum corporate tax plan at the US Capitol on October 26, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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WASHINGTON – Two top Senate Democrats with a track record of business scrutiny and antitrust activities have called on the Justice Department to investigate a merger between the PGA Tour and Saudi-funded LIV Golf.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon have asked the Justice Department to determine whether it is combine the business enterprise of the two entities violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The deal “will make the American organization complicit — and force American golfers and their fans to join in that complicity — in the Saudi regime’s latest attempt to correct its abuses by pouring funds into major sports leagues,” the lawmakers wrote in the document. letter Tuesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Justice Department Antitrust Chief Jonathan Kanter.

“Significantly, the agreement appears to have a material adverse effect on competition and violates several provisions of US antitrust law, regardless of whether the agreement is structured as a merger or some type of joint venture,” they added.

The letter follows questions from Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman. details of the merger. PIF has previously stated intentions to use his influence in sports to further the goals of the Saudi government, according to Blumenthal’s letter. (Monahan married a holidays recover from an undisclosed medical condition.)

“We are confident that as Congress learns more about how the PGA Tour will conduct this new venture, they will understand the opportunities it creates for our players, our communities and our sport while protecting the American golf institution,” the tour said in a statement, echoing its previous response to the Blumenthal probe.

The PGA Tour also insists the deal is not a merger and that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will be a minority investor.

LIV Golf and the Department of Justice declined to comment.

The agreement between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf would end ongoing antitrust litigation between the two golf organizations. The two sides have agreed to merge the business operations to create a larger, yet-to-be-named entity chaired by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Agreement immediately raised antitrust concerns and player sponsorship and reward issues.

LIV Golf, which is funded by the PIF, did luring some of golf’s biggest stars from the PGA Tour shortly after its inception in 2021, it sparked several lawsuits between the companies.

The merger shocked LIV Golf’s critics in light of Saudi Arabia’s documented human rights abuses. Family members of 9/11 victims protested the Saudi golf league because of terrorist ties to the country. Osama bin Laden, who planned the attack, was also born in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who controls PIF wallets, is also accused of masterminding the 2018 murder of a Washington Post journalist. Jamal Khashoggi.

In the letter, the lawmakers pointed to the PGA Tour’s comments from the 2022 lawsuit, in which the organization said the Saudi entity “is not a rational economic actor” and “is prepared to lose billions of dollars to use leverage.” [U.S. golfers] and the sport of golf to the ‘sporting thrashing’ of the Saudi Arabian government, which has human rights abuses.”

Warren, sits on the Senate Banking Committee, while Wyden chairs the Senate Finance Committee. The Justice Department should “dedicate sufficient resources to a detailed examination of the proposed settlement,” including the potential implications for professional golf in the US, the lawmakers said.

— CNBC’s Jessica Golden contributed to this article.

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