Skip to Main Content

The Washington Post Quotes Trevor Potter and Matthew Sanderson on Group Shapes Debate on College Football Championship, Despite Tiny Budget

August 17, 2011, The Washington Post

Excerpt taken from article.

A political action committee that wants to change how the national college football champion is crowned had little success with its first strategy, raising money to elect lawmakers friendly to its cause of establishing a playoff system. It's made itself relevant, though, with another tactic — investigating the current bowl-game system and filing complaints about corruption and waste.

By obtaining public records, analyzing tax filings and mounting an aggressive public relations campaign, Playoff PAC has repeatedly put the Bowl Championship Series on the defensive, despite raising less than $20,000 in nearly two years and failing to make a single campaign contribution.

The public face of Playoff PAC is Matthew Sanderson, a boyish-looking 30-year-old campaign finance lawyer in Washington who worked for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. He and fellow attorney Trevor Potter teamed up to represent Stephen Colbert before the Federal Election Commission, prompting the comedian to crack that the two lawyers "will go down with the greats of American duos: Lewis and Clark, Sacco and Vanzetti, Harold and Kumar."

But Scott McKibben, executive director of the Rose Bowl — the one BCS bowl that has escaped the PAC's criticism — said the group has "stirred up the dust with fans" on the question of whether a playoff would be better than the BCS.

"I don't think there's any question that they have, just from a pure fan awareness and media exposure perspective, brought that up a notch or two," he said.

It didn't start that way. In 2009, ESPN announced the news of the PAC's formation with mockery.

"Forget health care," ESPN anchor Stan Verrett said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Even when they're really really sick, you know all people really want is for their team to get a fair shot at the title."

The reaction wasn't all that different at Sanderson's own law firm.

Click here to read about Playoff PAC and its ongoing investigation of the current bowl-game system.


About Caplin & Drysdale
Celebrating our 55th Anniversary in 2019, Caplin & Drysdale continues to be a leading provider of legal services to corporations, individuals, and nonprofits throughout the United States and around the world. We are also privileged to serve as legal advisors to accounting firms, financial institutions, law firms, and other professional services organizations.

The firm's reputation over the years has earned us the trust and respect of clients, industry peers, and government agencies. Moreover, clients rely on our broad knowledge of the law and our keen insights into their business concerns and personal interests. Our lawyers' strong tactical and problem-solving skills -- combined with substantial experience handling a variety of complex, high stakes, matters in a boutique environment -- make us one the nation's most distinctive law firms.

With offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., Caplin & Drysdale's core practice areas include:
For more information, please visit us at
Washington, DC Office:
One Thomas Circle NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
New York, NY Office:
295 Madison Avenue
12th Floor
New York, NY 10017


This communication does not provide legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with you or any other reader. If you require legal guidance in any specific situation, you should engage a qualified lawyer for that purpose. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Attorney Advertising
It is possible that under the laws, rules, or regulations of certain jurisdictions, this may be construed as an advertisement or solicitation.
©2022 Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered
All Rights Reserved.

Related Professionals

Related Practice Area(s)