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Football season is over for the Chargers, but the team’s political season never ends. During 2009 and 2010, Chargers president Dean Spanos, wife Susan, and relatives gave a total of $23,000 to the Gridiron PAC, the NFL owners’ political action committee for candidates for federal office. Of the total $619,435 raised by the committee, the top recipients were the Republican and Democratic senatorial committees, with $30,000 each, and the two parties’ congressional committees, with $20,000 each. Friends of John McCain got $10,000, as did Nancy Pelosi for Congress and Friends of Harry Reid. GOP congressman Darrell Issa was the only local beneficiary, with $5000.

With a possible players strike or lockout looming later this year and irate fans clamoring for government action lest they miss their beloved games, both the owners and the players unions are busy lobbying Issa, who will assume the chairmanship of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in January. Former Chargers offensive lineman Jon Runyan, who captured New Jersey’s Third District congressional seat for the GOP in November, got $1200 from Eagles coach Andy Reid and $1000 from Chargers coach Norv Turner. And according to the website OpenSecrets.org, the NFL laid out $1,090,000 in lobbying expenses for 2010. It also paid an additional total of $765,000 to five lobbying firms. By comparison, the players association was chintzy, spending just $340,000 to obtain the services of the firm Patton Boggs LLP.

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