A review of the federal campaign financial records by USA TODAY Sports found that key owners and management partners of teams in six major American sports leagues have donated at least $ 14.6 million to various candidates, campaigns and political action committees during the 2019-20 election cycle.
And about two-thirds of that total can be traced back to just 10 owners, a select group of large donors who have donated between $ 375,000 and $ 3.25 million in the past 20 months alone.
Here’s a look at those top 10 political investors between sports ownership and where they’ve been directing their money so far.
1. Charles B. Johnson, San Francisco Giants
Johnson is by far the largest political donor among sports owners during this election cycle, with over $ 3.25 million in federal contributions to date. The 87-year-old retired financial executive, whose son Greg took over as controlling person of the Giants last year, made at least 94 separate donations over a span of 20 months, contributing the maximum individual amount ($ 5,600) to more than two dozen Republican candidates during that period. His five largest donations went to Republican political action committees or joint fundraising committees, including $ 435,200 to “Trump Victory” in February.
Johnson donated a total of $ 1.99 million during this election cycle, exclusively to Republican campaigns and causes. This is not surprising, given that the owner of the Jets is currently serving in the Trump administration as ambassador to the UK. (His brother, Christopher, took over the team’s day-to-day operations in his absence.) Johnson has made three separate donations of $ 360,000 or more so far in this cycle.
The DeVos family has long been a trusted source of fundraising for Republicans, and Dan DeVos, brother-in-law to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is no exception. Since early 2019, its federal political spending has exceeded $ 1.2 million, including nearly $ 10,000 for right-wing political action committees or candidates. Most of its funds have been directed to super PACs or party groups, such as the Republican National Committee.
This is the second consecutive election cycle in which Dolan has provided significant financial support behind Trump’s back. The owner of the Knicks and Rangers has so far donated more than $ 715,000 to the president and the Republican Party since early 2019, including a $ 355,000 contribution to Trump Victory in May. He also told the New York Post that he intends to be more politically active, particularly in New York politics, moving forward.
Loeffler’s dual role as Dream co-owner and United States Senator came under scrutiny earlier this summer when he voiced opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement at the same time WNBA players were supporting him. So far during the 2019-20 election cycle, he has donated more than $ 527,000 federally, with more than half that amount going to a Trump super PAC, and much of the rest has been distributed among many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate.
The Braves are one of the few professional sports teams technically owned by a corporate entity, Liberty Media. Malone is the president of that company. The 79-year-old is the largest private landowner in the United States and most of his political activity during this cycle has come in the form of a $ 500,000 donation to the “1820 PAC,” which has so far spent more than $ 2.7 million. in support of the re-election campaign of Maine Senator Susan Collins. Malone also made monthly donations to Trump in late 2019.
Kendrick, the chief executive of the Diamondbacks since 2004, has raised more than $ 451,000 in federal campaign grants during this election cycle – of which nearly $ 2,500 went to Republicans. It distributed donations among 40 Republican and PAC candidates, including multiple leadership PACs with stated goals of claiming control of the House of Representatives or maintaining control of the Senate.
A billionaire with wide-ranging business interests, Anschutz has donated more than $ 411,000 to Republican candidates in the current election cycle, including a couple of six-figure donations to joint fundraising committees to benefit House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R -Calif., And Senator Cory Gardner, R-Colo. Gardner will face one of the toughest re-election battles among Republicans in the Senate this fall.
Reinsdorf is one of several owners who have historically made considerable contributions to both Republicans and Democrats. During this election cycle, he gave $ 252,000 to the GOP and $ 100,000 to a super PAC called “Illinois Democrats for Change,” though this latest donation isn’t as simple as it might seem. According to FEC records, Reinsdorf was the only person to give money to that super PAC, which he proceeded to transfer $ 93,000 to a Delaware-based LLC before it went dark. Reinsdorf declined to talk about the $ 100,000 when he was joined by USA TODAY Sports, saying he doesn’t discuss his political donations.
USA TODAY Sports has tracked donations from spouses separately, even if they share ownership of a team, as Dee and Jimmy Haslam do with the Browns. And for that reason, Dee Haslam eliminated her husband for the final spot on this list, with $ 375,400 in federal political contributions to her $ 355,000. Each of the Haslam donated exclusively to Republican candidates, with the exception of two Democrats in the House: Abby Finkenauer from Iowa and Kendra Horn from Oklahoma.
Contributors: Bob Nightengale, Nick Penzenstadler, Jim Sergent and Julio Vega
Contact Tom Schad at email@example.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.