Major League Baseball requests return of $5,000 donation to Cindy Hyde-Smith

The Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Political Action Committee has requested that its $5,000 donation — the legal maximum — to Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith be returned. The Federal Election Commission contribution report was filed on Nov. 24. MLB faced immediate backlash because of controversial comments Hyde-Smith made earlier in the month. 

At a campaign event on Nov. 2, Hyde-Smith was caught on camera alongside one of her supporters saying that if he ever invited her to attend a public hanging, she'd sit in the front row. Many have taken the remark to be inappropriate due to Mississippi's history of racial violence.

On Sunday, an MLB spokesperson released a statement, first reported by Buster Olney of ESPN:

"The contribution was made in connection with an event that MLB lobbyists were asked to attend. MLB has requested that the contribution be returned."

Furthermore, Jon Heyman of Fancred reported that MLB's contribution came before it was aware of Hyde-Smith's comments.

AT&T, Walmart and Pfizer all have asked for Hyde-Smith's campaign to return their contributions as well after she made the comments. Hyde-Smith, a Republican, is running against Democrat Mike Espy in a run-off election on Tuesday for a U.S. Senate seat. The candidates are vying to replace longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, whom Hyde-Smith was appointed to replace earlier this year as failing health forced him to leave office.

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