Lawmakers Punish MLB but Invest in Other Boycotted Firms

by Celine Macura

Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks with Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) in the U.S. Capitol on September 30, 2020
Rep. Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Norman (R-SC) in the US Capitol (9/30/20)

Co-sponsors of the Antitrust bills meant to punish The Major League Baseball (MLB) still own their stock in other companies targeted by the GOP boycott of corporate responses to the Georgia voting bill, SB202.


The Antitrust Bill: Introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3) and in the Senate by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the bill is intended to extend antitrust laws to professional baseball clubs, which were previously exempt. This bill, co-sponsored exclusively by Republican lawmakers, comes after MLB moved the All-Star game from Georgia to Denver following the passage of SB202, which is criticized for increasing voting restrictions. It is written as direct retaliation against Major League Baseball for the move.


The bill would repeal a Supreme Court decision in 1922 in the case of Federal Baseball Club v. National League, which ruled that MLB was not considered interstate commerce. As a result, MLB was not required to adhere to antitrust laws as they were outlined in the Clayton and Sherman Acts. However, repealing this decision would subsequently remove this exemption.


These acts are intended to thwart large companies from becoming monopolies through various business practices. Repealing the MLB’s exemption would change a number of things in the baseball industry, including the way Minor League teams contract with the MLB and the current status of team’s trademarking rights.


MLB, a privately owned company, is joined by several publicly traded companies as a GOP boycott target after taking action in response to SB202. Since former President Trump called for republicans to boycott MLB, Cisco, Citigroup, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, JP Morgan Chase, Merck, UPS, and ViacomCBS, FinePrint Data has found that several lawmakers who echo the boycott rhetoric hold stock in the aforementioned companies.


Involved Politician’s Investments: Eight lawmakers who have co-sponsored the bill as well as Jeff Duncan who sponsored the bill, own stock in one or more of the boycotted companies. A comprehensive list of the lawmakers and their holdings compiled by FinePrint Data is shown below.


Why it Matters: Republican lawmakers are introducing the bill to punish MLB for aligning their values with Democrats by taking a stance against SB202. Since the bill was introduced in March, several other states including Florida and Texas have moved forward similar policies.

Sen. Lee retweeted Rep. Duncan’s announcement of the bill’s drafting with a message criticizing the U.S.government for their current antitrust exemption of the baseball club in light of MLB’s political alignment.


Tweets between Senator Mike Lee and Representative Jeff Duncan regarding Major League Baseball's Antitrust exception

“Why does @MLB still have antitrust immunity? It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations—especially those that punish their political opponents,” Senator Mike Lee


“In light of @MLB’s stance to undermine election integrity laws, I have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to remove Major League Baseball’s federal antitrust exception.” Representative Jeff Duncan


Thumbnail of FinePrint report on Stock Ownership by Cosponsors of Congressional Bill to remove the antitrust exception for Major League Baseball
Excerpt of Report on Stock Holdings of MLB Bill Cosponsors

Download FinePrint's full report on which co-sponsors of the bill to revoke the MLB antitrust exemption still own stock in other GOP-boycott targets.


Get the full list here.


2021-05 Report on Boycott Stock Ownershi
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