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Since the 1990 election cycle, the San Diego Chargers have given $2.4 million to federal political candidates and committees -- topping each of the other 31 teams by a long way, according to a study released yesterday (Sept. 17) by the Center for Responsive Politics. In fact, the Chargers have given almost four times as much as next largest donor, the Houston Texans, which have given $623,000 to federal candidates and committees. Chargers owner Alex Spanos accounts for more than $2 million of the $2.4 million. The rest was given by team officials and players. But keep in mind that the non-Alex Spanos donations come to well over half the donations of the Houston Texans. Here's the breakdown by party: 98% of the Chargers donations went to Republicans and 2% to Democrats. The team that has given the least during the period that began in 1990 is the Oakland Raiders: a mere $6,800. The Green Bay Packers have only given $8,750. That team is owned by a group of local citizens.

The National Football League last year created a political action committee, called the Gridiron PAC, which opened a Washington D.C. office as a base for lobbying the pols. NFL lobbying has increased greatly in the last two years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The lobbying bill will come to $1.4 million this year, exceeding the previous high of $1.15 million in 2007.

One thing that worries NFL owners is a negative Congressional reaction to a relocation of a team. There was such a stink about the Cleveland team going to Baltimore that an expansion franchise had to be put in Cleveland. The Chargers covet L.A., although they claim they want to stay in San Diego. Whether this has motivated the donations is hard to tell from the center's data.

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Comments

Visduh Sept. 18, 2009 @ 7:50 p.m.

So, the "Boys in Black (and Silver)", with all their desire to become a national team--Raider Nation--gave the least. Al Davis is, and always has been, a cheap bs__. How does he pull it off without greasing the political skids?

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 18, 2009 @ 9:20 p.m.

No one gives that kind of money without wanting something in return.

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2009 @ 7:15 a.m.

Response to post #1: It's possible that Davis and some other owners slipped money to politicians by some methods that the center could not track. As you know, there are loopholes galore -- including some in offshore secrecy and tax havens -- that frustrate efforts to trace political giving. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2009 @ 7:19 a.m.

Response to post #2: Of course. The NFL has many reasons to curry favor in Washington, only one of which is protection when a team is relocated. There are TV contracts, etc. that are scrutinized by solons. And, certainly, the league does not want any Congressional committee probing the source of owners' money, or owners' direct and indirect relationships with the gambling industry. Best, Don Bauder

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shizzyfinn Sept. 20, 2009 @ 9:23 a.m.

Thanks for this fascinating info, Mr. Bauder. The Spanos crew sure knows how to work the backrooms of government. True masters of plutocracy.

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Don Bauder Sept. 20, 2009 @ 5:11 p.m.

Response to post #5: Alex Spanos has been a wheel in the Republican Party for decades. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 20, 2009 @ 5:29 p.m.

The wheel or the grease-one of the two.

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Don Bauder Sept. 20, 2009 @ 9:07 p.m.

Response to post #7: Both wheel and grease. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd Sept. 24, 2009 @ 1:31 p.m.

Regarding the Chargers, interesting article by Sullivan from the U-T:

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/sep/24/anxiety-over-bolts-future-home-reality/?chargers

Just let me know when it's okay to begin the I-told-you-so stuff...

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2009 @ 4:49 p.m.

Response to post #9: Yes, the U-T may be seeing the light. It has taken a long time Best, Don Bauder

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