Judicial Watch: Government Pays Baltimore Ravens $130,000 to Promote Obamacare
The defending Super Bowl champions are being paid $130,000 to promote President Obama's signature law, according to documents unearthed by Judicial Watch. The money is coming from taxpayers.
Judicial Watch reports that the deal was finalized between the NFL franchise and Maryland health officials on September 9, opening weekend of the NFL's 2013-14 season. But the state refused to discuss specifics of the deal in public, preferring to trumpet that the Ravens would help the state promote Obamacare. Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act request succeeded in discovering that the state is using taxpayer dollars to pay the state's most successful team to promote a partisan policy.
The agreement between the Ravens and the state goes into detail about how the state expects the franchise to promote Obamacare, including commercial ads on WBAL-AM in Baltimore, in Ravens email newsletters, on the team Facebook page, and on the Ravens team website. It even specifies that the Ravens will promote Obamacare in five tweets.
The federal government had tried to recruit professional sports including the NFL to help promote its law, but the NFL publicly declined. Maryland's sponsorship agreement with the Ravens states that the state will use taxpayer funds to pay the Ravens to promote Obamacare on TV, radio and on the team's official website. The agreement also includes a post-season option. If the Ravens make the playoffs, Maryland has the right to request that the Ravens continue promoting Obamacare. If the state exercises that option, it will pay the Ravens $7,500 per week above the $130,000 during the post-season. The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens currently sit at second place in their division with a record of 3-4.
The sponsorship agreement is silent on the role, if any, played by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley in securing the promotional deal.