SBJ/January 12 - 18, 2004/SBJ In Depth

Working ‘The Hill’ on behalf of the sports industry

Sports lobbying is big business in the nation's capital. The major professional sports organizations spent more than $1.5 million on fees in the first six months of 2003 alone.

The largest spender by far during that time was Major League Baseball, which dropped $550,000 on lobbying efforts. MLB chief lobbyist Lucy Calautti is the wife of Sen. Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota.

Major League Baseball


Lobbyists: Josh Alkin, Lucy Calautti, David Fischer, Kathleen Kerrigan, William Schweitzer, Henry Zapruder
Firm: Baker & Hostetler
Lobbying expenditure: $320,000

Lobbyists: Christy Evans, Lawrence Grossman, Mary Kate Johnson, W. Christopher Lamond, Arthur Mason, Martin Russo, Gerald Warburg
Firm: Cassidy & Associates
Lobbying expenditure: $120,000

Lobbyists: Robert Garrett, Ronald Schechter, Michele Woods
Arnold & Porter
Lobbying expenditure: $100,000

Lobbyist: Stuart Gordon
Firm: Private consultant
Lobbying expenditure: $15,000

Key issues: Drug abuse, steroids; copyright/intellectual property; Internet gambling; immigration; congressional gold medal for Jackie Robinson; tax issues; aviation; competitive balance; Anti-Piracy Act; media cable tiering

MLB Players Association


Lobbyist: Marianne McGettigan
Firm: Verrill & Dana
Lobbying expenditure: $80,000

Lobbyist: Joel Johnson
Firm: The Harbour Group
Lobbying expenditure: $20,000

Lobbyist: Kevin McGuiness
Firm: McGuiness & Holch
Lobbying expenditure: $20,000

Lobbyist: John Yarowsky
Firm: Patton Boggs
Lobbying expenditure: Less than $10,000

Lobbyist: Thurgood Marshall Jr.
Firm: Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman
Lobbying expenditure: Less than $10,000

Lobbyists: Tony Rudy, Edward Stewart
Firm: Alexander Strategy Group
Lobbying expenditure: Less than $10,000

Key issues: McGettigan, a top aide to former Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., heads the group dedicated to guarding players' interests. Originally formed to fight the MLB's exemption from antitrust laws, the lobbying group is now monitoring the debate over steroid use in professional sports as well as a variety of tax questions.

McGettigan and her colleagues successfully blocked a proposal by Washington, D.C., Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton that would have levied a commuter tax on baseball players coming to the city to play the much-discussed future Washington baseball team. It also would have taxed players on the D.C. team who lived in Maryland or Virginia.



Lobbyists: Roderick A. DeArment, John Dugan, Andrew C. Friedman, Allegra M. Lane, Gregg Levy, David Remes, Keith Teel, Gerard Waldron
Firm: Covington & Burling
Lobbying expenditure: $140,000

Lobbyist: Philip Hochberg
Firm: Piper Rudnick
Lobbying expenditure: $40,000

Lobbyist: Patrick Williams
Firm: The Cormac Group
Lobbying expenditure: $40,000

Key issues: The issue of stadium security and flyover regulations looks likely to dominate the legislative agenda for the NFL this year. Other issues include financing of sports stadiums and the debate over "designer" steroids such as THG. Covington & Burling has been the lead player in NFL lobbying since now-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue worked for the firm prior to joining the league in 1989. Patrick Williams is the son of legendary lobbyist Tom Williams, one of the NFL's lobbying pioneers. Philip Hochberg has been affiliated with the Washington Redskins for 38 years as press box public announcer and stadium announcer and is a member of the Redskins Hall of Fame.

NFL Players Association

Lobbyist: Benjamin L. Zelenko
Firm: Baach Robinson & Lewis
Lobbying expenditure: $20,000

Key issues: Internet gambling (exemption for fantasy sports contests), Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act (SPARTA), Amateur Sports Integrity Act. SPARTA, which has passed the House, sets a code of conduct for agents. The Amateur Sports Integrity Act would research performance-enhancing drugs and prevent gambling on amateur sports.



Lobbyists: Frank Donatelli, Barnaby Harkins
Firm: McGuire Woods Consulting
Lobbying expenditure: $80,000

Lobbyist: Philip Hochberg
Firm: Piper Rudnick
Lobbying expenditure: Less than $10,000

Key issues: Renewal of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act, which expires in 2004. The reauthorization contains a number of important questions for the NBA including the renegotiation of how much satellite providers like DirecTV must pay for the right to carry such local channels as WGN, which televises numerous Chicago Bulls games.



Lobbyist: Philip Hochberg
Firm: Piper Rudnick
Lobbying expenditure: $20,000

Lobbyist: Frank Donatelli
Firm: McGuire Woods Consulting
Lobbying expenditure: Less than $10,000

Key issues: Performance-enhancing drugs; preventing efforts by cable systems to group sports programming into special tiers

PGA Tour


Lobbyist: David Gilliland
Firm: Holland & Knight
Lobbying expenditure: $80,000

Lobbyists: Evan Migdail, Philip Hochberg
Firm: Piper Rudnick
Lobbying expenditure: $60,000

Key issues: The PGA Tour's lobbyists won a major victory in the year-end omnibus spending bill when $2 million in funding was approved for The First Tee program. The program, based in St. Augustine, Fla., gives underprivileged children throughout the country access to the sport.

The PGA Tour — along with other sports organizations — is eyeing a potential legislative push on database privacy. The professional sports world argues that the statistics produced by games and tournaments rightfully belong to the organization that stages the event. Currently, game statistics are considered public record and therefore can be used for any purposes, up to and including fantasy sports, free of charge.


Lobbyist: Abe Frank
Organization: In-house
Lobbying expenditure: $60,000

Key issues: Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act; Amateur Sports Integrity Act; Internet gambling

Division I-A Athletic Directors

Lobbyist: Philip Hochberg
Firm: Piper Rudnick
Lobbying expenditure: $20,000

Key issues: Stadium overflight

U.S. Olympic Committee


Lobbyist: Lance Bultena
Firm: Hogan & Hartson
Lobbying expenditure: $80,000

Lobbyists: Ann Cody, David Gogol, Dena Morris, Margaret Walker
Firm: B&D Sagamore
Lobbying expenditure: $60,000

Lobbyist: Stephen Bull
Firm: In-house
Lobbying expenditure: Not disclosed

Key issues: Legislation regarding the structure and purpose of the U.S. Olympic Committee; federal support for disability sports

American Horse Council


Lobbyist: Tad Davis
Firm: Davis & Harman
Lobbying expenditure: $50,000

Lobbyist: Jay Hickey
Firm: In-house
Lobbying expenditure: $40,000

Key issues: This umbrella organization, representing the American Quarterhorse, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and The Jockey Club among other groups, is fighting attempts to ban gambling over the Internet. Roughly 75 percent of horse race betting is done away from the track hosting the event.

National Thoroughbred Racing Association

Lobbyists: Michael Henry, Greg Means
Firm: Alpine Group
Lobbying expenditure: $60,000

Lobbyist: Janis McClintock
Firm: Davis & Harman
Lobbying expenditure: $40,000

Key issues: Internet gambling; tax issues affecting thoroughbred racing, breeding and operations; international thoroughbred wagering

Note: Lobbying expenditures are from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2003, and are taken from federal lobbying disclosure reports.

Compiled by Chris Cillizza, a writer in Washington, D.C.

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