Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rays Start Funding Republican Campaigns, Contrary to Sternberg's Previous Political Leanings

The Tampa Bay Rays have made their first major political contribution in Florida, a $15,000 check to the political action committee run by powerful State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. 

The donation was among the many findings of my recent piece for WTSP/10 News on political contributions from sports teams and sports stars.  To see the entire list and interactive database, continue reading here.

The Rays had never made any major political contributions previously, other than $101,120 in contributions to the non-partisan transit campaigns in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

The donation to Latvala's powerful PAC underscores the importance of teams lobbying the legislature when they are interested in landing large taxpayer stadium subsidies.

"The party that has the majority gets to pass legislation...and reaps the benefit of those dollars," said former legislator Lars Hafner, D-St. Petersburg, who pointed to all the other Florida sports teams that have also poured money into Republican coffers in Florida.
Previously, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg had tended to favor Democrats, including a $5,000 donation to President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012.  Also, minority owner Timothy Mullen has been a loyal Democratic contributor, writing large checks to the campaigns of both Barack Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
However, not all Rays owners lean left; minority owners Thomas Sansone and Vince Naimoli have both been loyal Republican donors for years.

Other individuals included in the comprehensive donation report include Rays President Brian Auld, President of Baseball Operations Silverman, broadcaster Dewayne Staats, former manager Lou Pinella, and Hall of Fame third baseman Wade Boggs.

No comments:

Post a Comment