University of Alabama plays politics as well as football

BCS champs' lobbyists target sequestration, appropriations bills

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Until the "snowquester" winter storm hit Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama was scheduled to honor the University of Alabama's championship football team at the White House today.

While Crimson Tide athletes were planning on making a special trip to the nation's capital for the event, the University of Alabama also maintains a full-time presence in Washington.

In fact, the University of Alabama spent $370,000 on lobbying in 2012, according to congressional records, and it hired five lobbyists from the elite firm Van Scoyoc Associates, which is one of the nation's top lobby shops in terms of revenue, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Who are the Crimson Tide's lobbyists? H. Stewart Van Scoyoc, the firm's president and chief executive officer, as well as Michael Adcock, Madeline Barter, Ray Cole and Alice Dodd.

Records indicate that they actively lobbied the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in 2012 on the University of Alabama's behalf.

Among their lobbying targets: Sequestration-related legislation, several appropriations bills, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill recovery, legislation and regulations related to organ transplant issues, funding for Department of Defense medical research programs and the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

The soon-to-be-defunct Bowl Championship Series itself also maintained a lobbying force in Washington in 2012.

Congressional records indicate that the BCS last year spent $270,000 on federal lobbying and retained the services of both Hogan Lovells and J.C. Watts Compannies, the firm headed by the former Oklahoma Republican congressman who played quarterback for the University of Oklahoma and then professionally in the Canadian Football League.

Administration officials said the Crimson Tide's White House visit will be rescheduled for a future date.