Patriots lead Seahawks — in political donations

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Super Bowl XLIX is expected to be a close one. The New England Patriots are favored by one point over the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's big game, according to OddsShark.

But we already know the final score when it comes to political donations.

Patriots owners, top staff, and active players donated $153,900 to political candidates and parties during the 2012 and 2014 election cycles, according to Federal Election Commission data. That's more than twice as much as Seahawks top employees gave during the same period.


Fusion analyzed political donations reported to the FEC between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014 from owners, team presidents, general managers, top coaches, and players listed on the Patriots and Seahawks current active rosters. Fusion also searched the FEC database for contributions made by any person listing the Patriots or Seahawks as their employer.

The Patriots

Unlike other NFL owners, Robert Kraft (right) mostly supports Democrats (Jim Rogash/Getty Images).

Almost all Patriots contributions come from owner Robert Kraft and his son, team president Jonathan Kraft.


The elder Kraft, whose net worth is estimated at $4 billion, is one of the few NFL owners who has contributed to President Barack Obama. He gave $5,000 to Obama's reelection campaign and more than $52,000 to Democratic Party committees during the 2012 cycle.

Although Kraft mostly donates to Democrats, he has given to a handful of Republicans, too. Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and John Cornyn (Texas) received $7,200 combined from the Patriots owner in 2013 and 2014.


The younger Kraft gives more to GOP politicians than to Democrats. He contributed $2,500 to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and $70,800 to Republican Party committees the same year. He gave $10,400 to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) and Rep. David Cicilline (R.I.)

Few other Patriots staff and players have contributed in recent elections. But going back to the 2004 race, five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Vince Wilfork gave $2,000 to George W. Bush's reelection campaign.


The Seahawks


Forbes estimates Paul Allen is worth $17.1 billion (Steve Dykes/Getty Images).

Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen split his donations almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans in the last two elections.


Allen gave $32,900 to Democrats in 2012 and 2014. Most contributions went to lawmakers from his home state of Washington, such as Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Rick Larsen.

Allen, who also owns the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers, gave to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer.


The Seahawks owner gave slightly more ($34,000) to Republicans over the past four years. Allen contributed $3,000 in the last two cycles to Sen. John Thune (S.D.), who chairs a Senate subcommittee related to professional sports leagues. He also donated to Washington Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert, as well as GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Rob Portman.

While Allen did not give to presidential candidates during the 2012 election, he did contribute to Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign for president.


Allen also contributed $5,000 to the NFL's political action committee last year. The Krafts have each given $20,000 to the committee over the past two elections.

Like the Patriots, Seahawks players and staff generally have not opened their wallets to politicians. Pro Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung was an exception, giving $500 to Obama's 2012 reelection campaign.


In the absence of giving money, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll hasn't been afraid to express his political opinions. When he was the coach at the University of Southern California in 2008, Carroll supported Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Carroll reportedly questioned an Army general on whether the 9/11 terrorist attacks were real and outlined a plan to peacefully end the Iraq War.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, however, has attracted even more controversy in the midst of the so-called "Deflategate" scandal.


The Patriots and the Seahawks did not respond to requests for comment.

Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.

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