But, he said, going forward, the bank, which first received TARP money at the end of December, would be more cautious. "We have to think through what is appropriate in today's environment and what's not, and we're prepared to do that when it comes to sponsorship," he said.
That's not good enough, said Congressman Cummings, who thinks pre-existing sponsorships and deals should be renegotiated because of a "different climate."
"I'm sure that there would be other viable companies that have not received a dime from the government that would be glad to put their name on the Mets stadium," he said of the Citibank sponsorship.
Regarding the assertion that no TARP funds are being used for these sponsorships, an argument Citigroup and Bank of America have made, Cummings said "they can play that game forever."
"If they are spending anything, the only way they're able to spend it is because of U.S. taxpayers," said Cummings. "If they really cared about their appearance with regard to the American people and the Congress, they wouldn't even put that argument out there."
Others companies do say that they plan to cut back. American Insurance Group's four-year sponsorship of Manchester United won't be renewed when the contract -- worth approximately $125 million -- ends in May 2010, spokesperson Joe Norton said.
He said the company had looked into cutting it earlier but would have lost more money. So until then, the company will only invite marketing officials for events "specifically designed to increase revenue." But under its new internal financial rules from October, company employees will not be able to use tickets to the games as rewards.
And, Norton noted, the company has already ended shorter term sponsorships of more than a dozen other sports teams, including the New York Mets, the Houston Astros and the Japan Open.