The Indianapolis Colts may not be a football powerhouse this season, but the franchise is leading the league in one respect: The team has become the first in the NFL to start its own political action committee.
The Indy Colts PAC registered with the Federal Election Commission last month. The team's foray into politics, said lawyer Dan Luther, began when the Colts found their organization unexpectedly fending off a bill in the state legislature that defined as a public subsidy playing in a state-funded sports stadium. "That one serious battle in the Indiana legislature educated the management of the Colts that politics can affect our business," said Luther.
So far, there's no money in the federal PAC and no goal of becoming a major new source of campaign contributions for congressional candidates. But Luther said the team has become more savvy about politics and now is concerned with a range of matters pending before Congress, including an antitrust bill sponsored by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) being strongly opposed by the NFL and matters such as workers' compensation laws and tax issues.
"We want to be a player," Luther said. But he acknowledged that playing the inside-Washington game isn't likely to burnish the team's reputation. "We'd much rather be first in our division than be the first to create a PAC," he said.
Is Forbes Luring Jeb Bush Into His Domain? That trickster Steve Forbes!
The Republican presidential candidate has registered 19 Internet domain names with various combinations of Forbes and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, according to the Politics Report, an online news service. The names registered by the Forbes campaign include www.SteveandJeb.com, www.SteveForbes-JebBush.org, and www.Forbes-JebBush2000.net.
The sites are not active, but merely reserved in case Forbes wants to use them in the future. Does this mean Forbes is considering Jeb Bush--the brother of GOP presidential rival Texas Gov. George W. Bush--as a running mate, should Forbes win the GOP nomination next year?
"We feel there is always a place on the ticket for a Bush," said Kendrick Ashton, a spokesman for Forbes. "It just happens to be Jeb Bush."
Forbes has registered no other combinations of names. It remained unclear this week whether Forbes was serious or just trying to get under the Texas governor's skin, because Ashton cut off all other questions, saying, "That's basically it."
Forbes in the past has praised Jeb Bush's conservative record, implicitly dumping on his brother's. But Forbes and Jeb Bush haven't discussed, nor have Forbes's people discussed with Jeb Bush's people, the possibility of Forbes/Bush 2000, said Cory Tilley, a spokesman for the Florida governor.
Tilley said he related news of Forbes's cyber-speculation to the governor, who was, not surprisingly, amused. "Like Forbes, we too feel there is a place on the ticket for a Bush," Tilley said. "But it just happens to be at the top of the ticket, and it's George W. Bush."
Staff writer Terry M. Neal contributed to this report.