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Giants’ Charles Johnson blows other owners away in political spending

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

There’s one stat the Giants lead the league in.

The principal owner of the San Francisco Giants gives more — far, far more — to political campaigns than any other owner not just in baseball but in American sports.

According to a joint project from ESPN and FiveThirtyEight, Charles B. Johnson has contributed $10,995,500 since 2016 to Republican campaigns or super Political Action Committees that support Republican causes, or nearly five times as many as the second biggest contributor (Orlando Magic owner Dan DeVos, at $2.28 million).

The numbers were tabulated from the Federal Election Commission database, although the wealthy have ways of hiding spending, and if a contribution appeared to be from an owner but it could not be confirmed, the figure was not included in the report.

A spokesperson from the Giants said Johnson, who rarely talks publicly, was not available for comment.

Johnson, whose net worth is $4.1 billion, according to Forbes, has been a known Republican donor for years and controversially donated to a Republican U.S. Senator from Mississippi in 2018. Cindy Hyde-Smith had come under fire for saying she would be “in the front row” of a “public hanging” if invited by a political supporter. As the runoff election became of national interest because of Hyde-Smith’s comments, Johnson and his wife each donated the maximum $2,700 to her campaign.

The 87-year-old Johnson is the largest shareholder in San Mateo-based Franklin Resources, a global investment management firm. A search on OpenSecrets, which tracks political donors, shows donations like two separate $1 million contributions to the Senate Leadership Fund, an independent super PAC that aims “to protect and expand the Republican Senate majority” and $1 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund super Pac, which is “dedicated to winning a Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.”

Johnson’s son, Gregory Johnson, was named the Giants’ control person in November.


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