Fiesta Bowl employees made contributions to politicians friendly to the bowl, including some donations that may violate campaign-finance laws, according to a report in the Arizona Republic.
Employees were encouraged to write checks to specific candidates and were reimbursed by the bowl, which would be a violation of state and federal laws that prohibit funneling corporate campaign contributions through individuals.
Fiesta Bowl chief executive John Junker, right, said there was no wrongdoing.
"I don't know of any time in my employment that I have gone to someone and asked them to make a contribution and said, 'We will reimburse you,' " said Junker, who started working at the bowl in 1980.
Although bowl officials declined the newspaper's requests to examine its bonus records, other records show that Fiesta officials have contributed more than $38,000 in campaign contributions since 2000.
"Those contributions come on top of the $4 million the Fiesta Bowl spent during the same period on lobbyists, trips, dinners and golf retreats to build relationships with athletic officials who control the Bowl Championship Series and to garner support from politicians," according to the report.
Bowl officials are apparently worried about their standing among the four BCS games. Officials with the Cotton Bowl have made it known that they want to become part of the BCS cartel.
One search of records found that Junker and chief operating officer Natalie Wisneski gave to the same candidate on the same day.
Junker, Wisneski, their spouses and Wisneski's secretary each gave $2,100 for a combined $10,500 to John McCain's presidential campaign on March 8, 2007.
The Fiesta Bowl, which is operated through four nonprofit organizations, generated nearly $27.3 million in revenue for fiscal 2008. The nonprofit status means the bowl pays no taxes on revenue.