CREW: Football lobbying on the rise

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"With increasing scrutiny and coverage of the lasting, debilitating effects football careers can have on players’ health, the NFL has gone into damage control mode — pumping up its lobbying spending and donations to influential members of Congress," CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement that accompanied the study. 

CREW also noted that Gridiron-PAC, the political action group formed by the NFL in 2008, spent $838,000 on federal races in 2012.

The largest recipient of those donations was House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who netted $30,000 from the group over the last two election cycles, CREW said.

Second in line was Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who was the leading Republican on the House Judiciary Committee when the panel held a 2009 hearing on head injures in the NFL. He received $25,000 over the last two cycles.

Tied for third, all receiving $20,000, were House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerIt's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him How Republicans can bring order out of the GOP's chaos Republican donor sues GOP for fraud over ObamaCare repeal failure MORE (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorEx-RNC spokesman: After Trump remarks how can I tell minorities to vote GOP Kelly’s challenge? Bringing stability to Trump White House Special interests hide behind vets on Independence Day MORE (R-Va.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states THE MEMO: Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (D-Nev.) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.).

Football issues made headlines on Capitol Hill on Monday after leaders of the House Oversight Committee said they would grill NFL players directly for an investigation of the use of human growth hormone (HGH) in the game.

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have promised to help the NFL and the players' union reach an agreement on an HGH testing scheme.