FEC filings reveal Giants owner Charles Johnson cut political donations

Charles B. Johnson, the biggest shareholder of the San Francisco Giants and a longtime contributor to Republican candidates and organizations, cut his donations significantly ahead of the 2022 primary election, personally donating to just one candidate.

According to data from the Federal Election Commission website, Johnson and his wife, Ann L. Johnson, each donated $2,900 — the maximum amount — to Christopher Rodriguez’s campaign in California in April. Rodriguez was running as a Republican for the 49th House District seat, a coastal district between Los Angeles and San Diego. The Giants declined to comment on Johnson’s donations.

Johnson’s wife also donated $2,800 to Republican candidate Bryce Reeves, who ran unsuccessfully for Virginia’s 7th District seat in the house.

Johnson donating to just one candidate this quarter is a major departure from his usual political activity. In 2020, ESPN and FiveThirtyEight.com found that Johnson was the largest political donor among team owners in professional sports, donating nearly $11 million to Republican candidates and causes (compared to $35,000 to Republican candidates). bipartisan causes and $5,200 to Democrats).

Johnson’s political donations were first noticed in 2018 when he donated $2,700 to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi nine days after a video of Hyde-Smith emerged during a campaign rally that showed her expressing her respects for a local rancher by saying, “If if he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be in the front row.

In response to the controversy, Johnson told The Chronicle, “Overall, I don’t like the idea of ​​politics affecting everything I do with the Giants.”

Ahead of the 2020 election, Johnson again came under fire when he donated the maximum amount — then $2,800 — to Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., who voiced support for QAnon and tweeted the location of Rep. Nancy Pelosi during the January 6 attack. on the United States Capitol. Johnson then donated $5,800 to Herschel Walker’s senatorial campaign in Georgia; Walker made unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in the 2020 election.

The only recipient of Johnson’s support this quarter, Rodriguez identifies himself on his campaign website as a “Marine Corps veteran, elected council member, small business owner, farmer and father of seven.” He was unsuccessful in the primary, receiving 9.7% of the vote, well behind incumbent Democrat Mike Levin (49%) and Republican challenger Brian Maryott (19%).

Kikue Higuchi (she/she) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: kikue.higuchi@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @kychiguchi