Report: MLB Requested Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Return Additional Previous Donations

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

President Donald Trump greets Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R. Miss., during a rally in Tupelo, Miss., Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Thomas Graning/Associated Press

Major League Baseball reportedly donated $10,000 in total to the campaign of Republican Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and has now asked for its return.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports revealed in a column the league donated to her campaign in June and September. The two donations tallied $5,000, although Passan pointed out "those came before her infamous comment—in which Hyde-Smith evoked the brutal history of lynchings in Mississippi by saying of a supporter: 'I would fight a circle saw for him; if he invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row.'"

Passan also cited a report from Judd Legum of Popular.info that revealed the league donated $5,000 more to her campaign in November as well. The Popular.info report, coming on the heels of Hyde-Smith's racially-charged remarks, "prompted the league to ask for Hyde-Smith to return the donation."

The more recent donation came in lieu of a lobbyist who works for the league attending Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's fundraiser. Passan noted that that donation came within one or two days after Hyde-Smith's comments were reported by the Jackson Free Press.

He added more context to the timing of the donation:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

One thing from my reporting that became clear: MLB did not donate the $5,000 to Cindy Hyde-Smith nearly two weeks after her lynching comment became public, as was initially reported. That doesn't exactly mitigate the contribution, but the context is important in assessing it.

Steve Gardner of USA Today reported billionaire Charles Johnson—who is one of the largest stakeholder owners of the San Francisco Giants—donated to Hyde-Smith's campaign as well. As a result, civil rights advocates have called for a boycott of the team.

The Giants issued a statement which read, in part, "In no way does the Giants organization condone any racist and hateful language and behavior by anyone. It is abhorrent and in direct conflict with the core values of the San Francisco Giants."

San Francisco Giants @SFGiants

OFFICIAL: Statement from #SFGiants President & CEO Laurence M. Baer Regarding Political Donations LINK: https://t.co/PmrfK9Vvk3 https://t.co/RFs0GMf49L

According to Passan, MLB has donated more than $3.7 million to 321 members of Congress during the last 17 years alone.

Hyde-Smith will face Democratic challenger Mike Espy in a Tuesday run-off election.