It may be another season of mediocrity for the Seattle Seahawks, who have won just two of their five games so far. But they do lead the National Football League in political donations to Democratic causes, thanks to billionaire owner Paul Allen. The $36,000 he's given since 2009 is tops in the league for donations to national Demo candidates and committees, bucking a Republican trend in the NFL, according to a sporty new study by OpenSecrets.org, the political money watchdog.
The Houston Texans lead the NFL in overall federal political donations with $293,100 in the current 2009-11 election cycle. Their donations went to both Democrats and Republicans, given by players, coaches, and especially team owner/billionaire Robert McNair. Allen's political opposite, McNair contributed $215,000, almost all of it to Republicans.
OpenSecrets lists Allen as the only Seahawk--team member or executive--to give to federal candidates and national party-affiliated political committees during the cycle. (He has given to Republicans in earlier years, among them Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Eastside Congressman Dave Reichert).
The Federal Election Commission's list of Allen's latest contributions include Rep. Jay Inslee ($3,000), Rep. Adam Smith ($2,900), Sen. Patty Murray ($2,800), Sen. Maria Cantwell ($2,000), Rep. Norm Dicks ($2,000), Rep. Rick Larsen ($1,500), and to Montana Sen. Max Baucus ($2,400) and Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye ($2,000).
Since the late 1990s, Allen has given more than $300,000 in political donations, the FEC reports.
His latest rounds of contributions put the Seahawks 13th overall in the NFL for political money given.
Besides the Hawks, teams that favored Democrats most through donations, says OpenSecrets, include the St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Oakland Raiders. Republican-leaning teams were the Texans, Arizona Cardinals, and Dallas Cowboys.
In all, NFL players, owners, and executives, along with their spouses, contributed at least $1.4 million since January 2009--about two-thirds of it going to Republicans.