Anti-BCS group claims Fiesta Bowl staffers pushed to donate

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Such a practice would violate Arizona and federal campaign finance law that bans the funneling of corporate campaign contributions through individuals, according to the Arizona Republic.

"The Fiesta Bowl must immediately open its books so that the Secretary of State and the public can determine whether a taxpayer-subsidized entity behaved illegally," said Playoff PAC director Matthew Martinez. 

The allegations were first reported by the Republic. The complaint was obtained by The Hill Monday afternoon.

The Fiesta Bowl is one of four Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games in which major college football's top teams play for national recognition and large monetary rewards for their universities. The BCS also sponsors a national championship game in which the top two schools in its complex rankings system play for the title.

The BCS has come under fire from lawmakers on who say the system unfairly favors schools from major conferences and shuts out smaller schools from winning a championship and earning a equitable portion of bowl revenues. 

An investigator hired by the bowl cleared it of any wrongdoing last week but Playoff PAC says that their inquiry is insufficient. 

"Not surprisingly, the Fiesta Bowl has stated that its own inquiry into these allegations revealed 'no credible evidence' that the bowl’s management violated Arizona law," wrote Martinez in the complaint. "An investigation conducted by the accused party, however, merits little weight.

More than $38,000 in campaign contributions have been made since 2000 by 14 Fiesta Bowl employees, according to the Republic

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the only U.S. lawmaker named in the report as a recipient of the donations. State lawmakers also received contributions. 

As the youngest of the four BCS bowls, Fiesta Bowl officials are reportedly concerned that other well known bowls could knock it off for a BCS spot.

Playoff PAC was launched this year to encourage the creation of a college football playoff system. Several lawmakers helped establish the committee: Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and former Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii).

Barton was the sponsor of legislation that was passed through subcommittee this month urging the creation of a playoff system.

The organization says it "supports pro-reform political candidates, mobilizes public support, and provides a centralized source of pro-reform news, thought, and scholarship."

Fiesta Bowl Director of Media Relations Tony Alba declined to comment specifically on the complaint.

"We're focused on preparing for our football game," he said.