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Brewers Play Political Ball
Not even baseball can escape the game of political contributions.

Major league baseball teams gave more than $24 million in political donations during the 2012 election season, and the Brewers pitched in with just over $1 million. That ranked them fifth among MLB clubs, but the Chicago Cubs took the title by swinging for the fences and donating just under $14 million – mostly thanks to billionaire owner Joe Ricketts.

To clarify, we’re referencing the study done by the Sunlight Foundation that tracked the political contributions of employees at MLB teams. The study presents a crazy amount of data that would send any baseball statistician into a state of ecstasy. (Quick: What was the average donation of a VP of corporate affairs at a baseball club with a payroll under $100 million?)

The Brewers’ biggest contributors came in the form of John Canning Jr., an executive at Madison Dearborn Partners, who gave $338,000; Robert Beyer, chairman of Chaparal Investments, who gave $172,500; and Marc Stern, vice chair of the TCW Group, who gave $186,850. Keep in mind, those numbers don’t include those advisory board members' wives. Under her own name, Rita Canning gave $138,600.

Even Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio got in on the game, donating $5,000 to the Major League Baseball Commissioner's Office PAC, a democratic-leaning political action committee that spent over half a million in election 2012. Deborah Attanasio, Mark’s wife, also donated $5,000 to the Major League Baseball Commissioner's Office PAC and gave a $1,000 donation to Nevada Democrat Shelley Berkley, who made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate.

Local races didn’t attract very much money – just $17,785 of the $1,030,597 total amount. And the vast majority of those donations ($16,785) went to Republicans: Paul Ryan, Tommy Thompson and the Wisconsin Republican Party. Just two donations of $500 each from Julia Uihlein, an assistant adjunct professor of bioethics and medical humanities and pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, went to Sandy Pasch, a Democratic Party member of the Wisconsin State Assembly. And not one person contributed directly to the campaign of Kyle Lobner, the Brew Crew Ball managing editor who ran for a common council seat in Appleton. He won anyway.

Other notable donations include $2,500 from David Lubar to Tommy Thompson’s campaign, and $208 from Michael Jones, vice president of corporate affairs at Miller Coors, to Miller Coors LLC, a Republican-leaning PAC – 14 different times.

But hey, don’t let us have all the fun. Check out the data here, and let us know what you come up with.

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POSTED 1/12/2015