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Saturday, October 8, 2011

The NFL and Campaign Money

As we have previously noted, the NFL is an object of veneration to many Americans, but it is also an interest group. The Center for Responsive Politics discusses NFL-related political contributors:
A new year means a fresh start for teams like the Houston Texans. Not only is the NFL's newest team the favorite to win its division for the first time, the team ranks as the most politically active since January 2009, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Texans can thank their owner and founder, energy executive Robert McNair, for that.

McNair has donated $215,200 of his estimated $1.4 billion net worth to political causes since January 2009, almost strictly to Republicans. That pushes the Texans to a team total of $293,100 in political contributions from its players, executives and coaches.
Overall, the teams that favored Republicans most with their campaign cash included the Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens, all of which donated at least 70 percent of their contributions to the GOP.

Meanwhile, the teams that favored Democrats most with their political donations included the Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, all of which donated at least 70 percent of their political contributions to Democrats.
As is often the case in business versus labor battles, the NFL, the business side, has had the deeper pockets. During the first six months of 2011, the league has spent $820,000 on lobbying versus the players union's $120,000.
To further advance its interest, last year the NFL spread the money around like a prolific offense using its political action committee, Gridiron PAC.

The PAC, which was formed in 2008, donated more than $505,000 to federal candidates during the 2010 election cycle after not spending a dime in 2008. Of that sum, 59 percent benefited Democrats and 41 percent aided Republicans. Overall, 98 House candidates and 31 Senate candidates received money from the NFL's PAC during the 2010 election cycle.