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How Boston sports owners and executives donated in this year’s election cycle

Seth Klarman, who owns a minority stake in Fenway Sports Group, donated more than $5.1 million to mostly Democratic causes.Jeenah Moon/Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomb

If money talks, then many of the people who own and run Boston’s professional sports teams lifted their voices in the multibillion-dollar races for the White House and Congress.

In all, 30 individuals associated with the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, and Revolution made nearly $9 million in campaign contributions during the 2020 election cycle, heavily supporting Democratic candidates and causes, according to the latest Federal Election Commission records.

The top contributor was Seth Klarman, who owns a minority stake in Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of the Red Sox. Klarman donated more than $5.1 million, all but a tiny fraction to Democratic candidates and political action committees, records show.


Klarman, a hedge fund manager who founded the Boston-based Baupost Group, gave $1.5 million to Pacronym, which describes itself as the largest digital-only campaign dedicated to defeating President Trump by targeting key voters in battleground states. Klarman also contributed $1 million each to the House Majority PAC and the Priorities USA Action committee, both of which back Democrats.

The only other multimillion-dollar contributor among Boston team owners and executives was Jonathan Lavine, a member of the Celtics investors group. Lavine, a co-managing partner of Boston-based Bain Capital, made more than $2.1 million in political donations, almost entirely to the Democratic side.

Lavine’s largest contributions were $600,000 each to the House Majority and Senate Majority PACs, supporting Democrats. He also backed President-elect Joe Biden by giving $250,000 to the Unite the Country PAC and $100,000 to the Lincoln Project.

Both major parties continue to raise money, as control of the Senate may hinge on two runoff elections in Georgia in January. The parties also continue to pay outstanding bills and prepare for Trump’s potentially costly court challenges to the election results.

Under FEC reporting deadlines, contributions made in recent weeks have yet to be publicly recorded.


Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck made no federal campaign contributions in the 2020 cycle, per reports.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Current records indicate the principal owners of the Celtics (Wyc Grousbeck) and Red Sox (John W. Henry, who also owns the Globe) made no federal campaign contributions in the 2020 cycle. The principal owners of the Bruins (Jeremy Jacobs) and the Patriots and Revolution (Robert Kraft) donated relatively small amounts.

Jacobs contributed only to his nephew, Chris Jacobs, who easily won reelection to the US House in upstate New York. Jeremy’s son, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, also contributed only to Chris Jacobs, except for a $2,800 donation to Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III’s unsuccessful Democratic primary campaign to unseat Senator Edward J. Markey.

Kraft, who made headlines in 2016 when his Kraft Group contributed $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, made only $36,000 in contributions in the 2020 cycle, according to FEC records. He gave $10,000 each to the American Working Families PAC, which supported Rep. Richard Neal’s reelection, and the Experienced Leadership Matters PAC, which helped former Newton city councilor Jake Auchincloss win the race to succeed Kennedy in the House.

Kraft’s son, Jonathan, president of the Kraft Group and the Patriots, contributed $47,500 in total, including $11,200 to the Auchincloss PAC and $10,000 to the NFL’s Gridiron PAC, which supports the league’s interests in Washington.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who in 2016 crafted a complimentary letter to Trump that the candidate read from at a rally in New Hampshire on the eve of the presidential election, has not made a federal campaign contribution since 1993, when he was coaching the Cleveland Browns and gave $1,000 to Bernadine Healy, a former director of the National Institutes of Health, in her unsuccessful campaign against Mike DeWine in the Republican primary for a Senate seat in Ohio.


Bill Belichick didn't make any campaign contributions in 2020.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Belichick’s coaching counterparts — Brad Stevens of the Celtics, Bruce Cassidy of the Bruins, Bruce Arena of the Revolution, and Alex Cora and Ron Roenicke of the Red Sox — also stayed on the sidelines in the 2020 political money game.

On Jersey Street, a number of Red Sox executives and members of the team’s ownership group were particularly active. Sox chairman Tom Werner donated about $130,000, including $75,000 to Unite the Country, $35,500 to the Democratic National Committee Services Corp., and $2,800 directly to Biden’s campaign, according to FEC records.

Sox president Sam Kennedy donated $5,900, including $2,000 to Biden and $2,800 to former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s fleeting presidential campaign. Chaim Bloom, the team’s chief baseball officer, gave $250 to Biden and $500 to the Future Now Fund supporting progressive candidates.

In all, 14 of the Fenway Sports Group’s ownership partners and 12 members of the Celtics investors group contributed to federal campaigns or committees. Others who donated heavily were Fenway’s John Kaneb, who gave nearly $672,000, all to Republicans, and the Celtics group’s David Bonderman, who contributed about $413,000, mostly to Democrats.

Kaneb is CEO of Charlestown-based HP Hood. Bonderman is a Texas billionaire and co-founder of the Seattle Kraken, who will debut next year as the NHL’s newest expansion team.


Other major donors were Fenway’s Frank Resnek, who gave nearly $98,000, including $50,000 to the Biden Victory Fund; the Celtics group’s Glenn Hutchins, who contributed nearly $77,000 to Democrats; and Fenway’s Phillip Morse, who donated $44,500 to Republicans.

Celtics managing general partner Steve Pagliuca donated $11,200, including $2,800 each to Biden, Kennedy, and Patrick.

The Center for Responsive Politics ranked Klarman and Lavine among the nation’s top 100 individual campaign contributors and among the top seven in Massachusetts through Oct. 23. Klarman and his wife, Beth, who donated a combined $7.9 million, ranked second in Massachusetts, while Lavine and his wife, Jeannie, donated a combined $3 million, ranking seventh.

The top donors in Massachusetts were Joshua and Anita Bekenstein, who gave $16.1 million, almost all to Democrats. Joshua is co-chairman of Bain Capital, Anita a philanthropist.

The Center for Responsive Politics projects the 2020 election cycle will be the most expensive in history, with about $14 billion in spending. The top contributors to date have been Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, a physician. Between them, they have donated $183 million to Republican candidates and committees.

The next-most prolific donor has been former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at $107 million to Democratic causes.

USA Today reported in October that owners of the nation’s major professional sports teams had donated a combined $14.6 million in the federal election cycle, with nearly 86 percent going to Republican candidates and committees.


Bob Hohler can be reached at robert.hohler@globe.com.