SBD/Issue 40/Law & Politics

Decision 2006: Teams Donate Money To Politicians, Parties

McNair Has Contributed Over $200,000
To Political Interests In Last Six Years
The Marlins have donated $228,754 in the past eight years to Florida politicians and political parties, “twice as much on in-state politics as any other major league pro sports team,” according to figures from The Institute on Money in State Politics cited by Mike Knobler of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. In all, 40 teams and “their affiliated companies donated a total of more than $650,000 for in-state races” from ’97-’06. That figure does not include “hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks written by team owners and executives.” For instance, Texans Owner Bob McNair has made “more than $200,000 in Texas political contributions in the past six years and an additional $40,000 in federally reportable political contributions in the 2006 election cycle alone.” The Falcons have made two separate donations of $5,000 to the re-election campaign of Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/7). The following chart offers a list of several athletes and coaches who have made political donations, according to both the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION and the L.A. TIMES.

FIGURE
DONATION
CANDIDATE/PARTY
OFFICE
Baseball HOFer Hank Aaron $300 Hillary Clinton - D New York Sen.
Former ATPer Andre Agassi $4,200 Joe Lieberman - I Connecticut Sen.
Former driver Mario Andretti $250 Rick Santorum - R Pennsylvania Sen.
PGA Tour member Paul Azinger $4,200 Katherine Harris - R Florida Sen.
Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden $500 Charlie Crist - R Florida Gov.
Pro Football HOFer John Elway $6,300 Rick O'Donnell - R Colorado Rep.
Texas A&M football coach Dennis Franchione $2,500 Rick Perry - R Texas Gov.
Pro Football HOFer Franco Harris $2,000 Bob Casey - D Pennsylvania Sen.
Panthers WR Keyshawn Johnson $17,000 Phil Angelides - D California Gov.
Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson $4,200 Rick Santorum - R Pennsylvania Sen.
Former NFLer Bernie Kosar $4,200 Mike DeWine - R Ohio Sen.
Colts QB Peyton Manning $2,000 Bob Corker - R Tennessee Sen.
Braves P John Smoltz $2,000 Sonny Perdue - R Georgia Gov.
Hawks coach Mike Woodson $1,000 Thurbert Baker - D Georgia Attorney General

NASCAR DONATIONS: In Roanoke, Dustin Long cites election records that indicate “key people in NASCAR gave more than $300,000 to candidates and their parties for today’s elections.” U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) was “the biggest recipient of NASCAR money,” collecting $47,400 in donations, while U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) was second, receiving $32,800. Among the top ten candidates receiving NASCAR donations, eight are Republicans, two are Democrats and all are incumbents. The largest single donor was Bruce Kennedy, the husband of ISC President Lesa France Kennedy, who has donated $47,300 (ROANOKE TIMES, 11/7).

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