MLB donates $5,000 to senator who made ‘public hanging’ comment, then asks for it back

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) answers a question during a televised Senate debate last week in Jackson, Miss.
(Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press)

Major League Baseball donated $5,000 to the campaign of U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) last week but, days later, asked for its money back.

Hyde-Smith faces a runoff election in Mississippi on Tuesday against Democrat Mike Espy, who is African American. During a Nov. 2 campaign event, Hyde-Smith said she would attend a “public hanging” if invited by a supporter.

A video of Hyde-Smith making the controversial comment went public days later. She eventually apologized, saying “there was no ill will” intended. Still, several major corporations, including Walmart, have asked for the return of their contributions to her campaign.

The Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball PAC made its contribution on Friday, according to an FEC report filed by Hyde-Smith’s campaign the next day. Popular Information was the first to report the donation.


On Sunday, the MLB announced it had requested a refund.

“The contribution was made in connection with an event that MLB lobbyists were asked to attend,” a league representative said in a statement. “MLB has requested that the contribution be returned.”

San Francisco Giants owner Charles B. Johnson and his wife, Ann, each recently donated $2,700, the maximum by law that an individual may contribute, to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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