Report Documents Political Donations By MLB Teams

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — It’s Major League Baseball’s opening week, and as we tune in to the Cubs and White Sox, it’s interesting to see how these teams play when it comes to politics.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, the Sunlight Foundation, a good government group based in Washington, researched how much money 29 of 30 Major League Baseball organizations – with the exception of the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada – have donated to political campaigns since 1990.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

“Politicians are certainly aware of where that money is coming from because they have to list their employer when they make those contributions,” said the foundation’s Kathy Kiely, who helped compile the statistics.

Topping the list is the Baltimore Orioles, who have donated $4.5 million since 1990. At the bottom is the Oakland Athletics at $33,000.

As far as Illinois teams, or teams with many Illinois fans, are concerned, the St. Louis Cardinals came in 14th with $309,000. The Cubs are listed 16th with $248,000 and the White Sox 17th with $234,000.

Kiely said what she found most interesting was how Illinois’ teams treated President Obama in the 2008 election, particularly the White Sox, of which the president is fond. “I think I found only one contribution to Barack Obama in the White Sox organization,” she said.

Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the White Sox and Bulls, donated $2,500 to Republican John McCain.

The Cubs were nicer to Obama. Former manager Dusty Baker, who led the Cubs in 2003 to Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, but missed the World Series, donated $1,000 to Obama’s U.S. Senate Campaign in 2004. Former first baseman Derrek Lee and his wife combined to donate nearly $10,000 to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The report can be found at:

  • zatso

    Did either Sox or Cub team have representatives stay at the WHITE HOUSE for an overnight?


  • mike in davenport

    Hang on…. is this report claiming that the organizations game money to politicians, or that individuals associated with the organization privately gave money to politicians?

  • Tom

    Individuals employed by the organization gave money. I.e., Jerry Reinsdorf donated a lot to various causes as did Derrek Lee for the cubs and, for the Cardinals, team owner Bill DeWitt.

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