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June 27, 2005

One More Thing the GOP and the Mob Have in Common

George Soros, the billionaire who likes to give lots of money to Democrats, is one of seven groups vying for the right to own the newest MLB team, the Washington Nationals. And boy are the Republicans pissed.

[T]he very prospect that Soros could have a stake in the team is enough
to irritate Congressional Republicans.

"I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes," said Government
Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R), the Northern Virginia lawmaker who
recently convened high-profile steroid hearings. "I don't think they
want to get involved in a political fight."

Davis, whose panel also oversees District of Columbia issues, said that
if a Soros sale went through, "I don't think it's the Nats that get hurt.
I think it's Major League Baseball that gets hurt. They enjoy all sorts
of exemptions" from anti-trust laws.

Indeed, Hill Republicans could potentially make life difficult for MLB in
a variety of ways. In addition to being exempt from anti-trust rules,
baseball is still under scrutiny over the steroid issue. The Nats,
meanwhile, hope to have a publicly-funded stadium built soon, though
money for that venture is expected to come through the sale of bonds
rather than a federal outlay.

Still, Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), vice chairman of the Appropriations
subcommittee that covers the District of Columbia budget, said if Soros
buys the team and seeks public funding for the new stadium or anything
else, the GOP attitude would be, "Let him pay for it."

Is it just me, or does that sound like extortion?

As the Carpetbagger says:
"It's a nice baseball league you have here; it'd be a shame if something happened to it..."