Duncan and Lee File Legislation to Strip MLB Antitrust Exemption

April 14, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03) filed legislation to remove the longstanding antitrust exemption that Major League Baseball has enjoyed, in the wake of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision to remove the All-Star Game over partisan concerns about Georgia’s recent election security reform legislation.

“Major League Baseball has enjoyed constitutionally questionable antitrust protections for a century, yet it has decided to act in a partisan manner by punishing the state of Georgia for completely reasonable voter integrity and election security legislation,” Duncan said.  “Commissioner Manfred’s decision was ill-advised and will cost Atlanta small businesses, many of which are minority-owned, around $100M in economic activity. Furthermore, public polling has consistently shown overwhelming bipartisan support for voter ID laws, which are the cornerstone of the Georgia elections reform bill.

“This is just the latest in a wave of corporate decisions to ‘Go Woke.’ If companies or organizations want to undermine efforts to ensure the integrity of our elections process, then they invite increased scrutiny of their business practices. I urge Major League Baseball to reconsider this short-sighted decision, and I urge my colleagues to stand strong against the onslaught of the Woke Left on daily American life.”

The legislation is also being offered in the Senate by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who serves as the ranking member of the Antitrust Subcommittee.  Senator Lee is joined by Senators Ted Cruz (FL), Josh Hawley (MO), Marco Rubio (FL), and Marsha Blackburn (TN) as original cosponsors.

“Consumers benefit when businesses compete, and baseball is no different. In fact, a professional sports league should understand best of all the benefits of competition,” said Sen. Lee. “Instead, Major League Baseball has used its judicially fabricated antitrust immunity to suppress wages and divide up markets for decades—conduct that is plainly illegal, and sometimes criminal, in any other industry. We should have done this decades ago, but when billion-dollar businesses start engaging in political extortion it becomes even more pressing to end their special treatment.”

On the House side, there are 29 original cosponsors: Jim Jordan (OH), Ralph Norman (SC), William Timmons (SC), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Austin Scott (GA), Jody Hice (GA), Buddy Carter (GA), Rick Allen (GA), Andrew Clyde (GA), Chip Roy (TX), Louie Gohmert (TX), Randy Weber (TX), Brian Babin (TX), Pete Sessions (TX), Lance Gooden (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Biggs (AZ), Jerry Carl (AL), Barry Moore (AL), Dan Bishop (NC), Yvette Herrell (NM), Greg Steube (FL), Mary Miller (IL), Claudia Tenney (NY), Scott Perry (PA), Rick Crawford (AR), Lauren Boebert (CO), Burgess Owens (UT), and Bob Good (VA).

“Big Tech, Big Media, and now, Big Sports are working tirelessly to ‘cancel’ conservative voices.  For nearly a century, Major League Baseball has been the only professional sport to enjoy an exemption from antitrust law, putting it in a special, protected class. This legislation reins in that exemption to hold baseball accountable for its power in the marketplace and political bias against conservatives.” – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Republican Jim Jordan (OH).

“Major League Baseball made a bad call by perpetuating and acting upon a false perception of voting legislation that is now costing millions to the small businesses in Georgia,” said Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ). “America’s favorite pastime should never be involved in ‘cancel culture’, especially when American livelihoods take the brunt. This wokeness needs to end now.”

“We’re now living in an era where corporate ‘wokeness’ and virtue signaling are more important than truthful reality. MLB’s punishment of Georgia for its election integrity efforts is as disgraceful as it is misguided. Meanwhile, MLB’s operations are still going strong in places like communist China, where freedom and the right to vote are virtually nonexistent. This is clearly no longer an organization that deserves to retain its federal anti-trust exemption, and I’m happy to join Rep. Jeff Duncan and others in this important legislation.”- Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-05)

“The MLB caved to a misinformation campaign on Georgia’s recent election bill. If the MLB wants to give in to political pressure, they should not be given special privileges from the federal government. The MLB should return their focus to baseball, not politics, or risk losing their antitrust exemption.” – Rep. William Timmons (SC-04).

“For years, Major League Baseball has had the luxury of enjoying exemption from federal antitrust law. The other professional sports leagues do not have the same exemption. It would be irresponsible to continue to provide this special treatment to MLB as they cause irreparable damage to hardworking Georgians and small businesses,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (GA). “The league’s spineless decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia was based on lies told by President Biden and Democrats. Now, it’s been estimated that this move will cause a loss of $100 million for the local community. If MLB is going to harm the very people we were elected to work for, it’s time that we ensure they do not receive special treatment and have to play on the same field as everyone else.”

“MLB’s decision to move the All-Star game from Georgia is nothing more than political pandering to liberal activists while punishing the millions of Americans who want secure elections. Baseball should not be political, and it’s time to end MLB’s special exemptions from the government. Clearly these ‘woke’ CEOs did not read the Georgia bill. If they did, they would see that the legislation actually expands opportunities for legal voters to cast their ballots.” – Rep. Rick W. Allen (GA).

“Georgia will NOT apologize for passing strong election reform laws that require an ID to vote, just like every ballpark requires an ID to pick up tickets at will call,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA). “By becoming a de facto Democrat SuperPAC, the MLB should lose their anti-trust exemption immediately.”

"Georgians believe in election security and we won’t be bullied by ‘woke’ mega-corporations like Major League Baseball who do business with totalitarian communist regimes like China and Cuba. If MLB wants to play hard ball, I am happy to oblige." – Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA-09).

“By calling balls and strikes in politics, Major League Baseball effectively stripped itself of their special privileges and anti-trust exemption,” said Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10).  “It’s time to revoke that privilege and get them to choose whether they want to be political activists or sports entertainers.”

“For decades, liberal corporations and big business have amassed power and wealth through Washington cronyism, and many are brazenly using that power to punish average Americans and impose their leftist values on us,” said Congressman Chip Roy (TX-21). “No more. Americans are tired of being lectured by leftist corporate hacks who don’t share our values. No more special treatment. No more corporate welfare. The MLB can compete under the same antitrust rules as everyone else.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO-03) stated: “People watch sports to be entertained, not to be lectured about politics. MLB’s outrageous interference in election security is unacceptable. I’ve lost trust in the MLB, the American people have lost trust in the MLB, and now this organization must be subject to the same anti-trust laws as everyone else. Let me be clear, if you go woke, you go broke.”

“Major League Baseball’s economic retaliation against Georgia has everything to do with politics and nothing with substance, as evidenced by the All-Star Game moving to a place with stricter election integrity laws. Commissioner Rob Manfred harmed minority communities in Atlanta, all over a bill he didn’t read. President Biden and other ‘woke’ Democrats lied, and MLB took its cue from their lie to smear a democratically elected state legislature and the whole concept of fair elections. MLB has long enjoyed a special antitrust exemption based on its stewardship of America’s pastime, granting it monopoly rights other corporate entities lack. But when MLB corruptly employed its unique power to stigmatize election integrity, it forfeited any claim of special status.  The MLB antitrust exemption should be revoked.” – said Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-09).

“For nearly a century, Major League Baseball has enjoyed a special exemption from laws designed to protect Americans from controlling corporate behavior. Recent actions by the league’s leadership imply their opinions matter more than what Atlanta could gain from hosting the All-Star game, especially the potential revenue for small-business owners. Clearly, the league has ascended far too high in its own mind and is comfortable wielding its influence over Americans. The time has come to strip this monopoly of its sweetheart deal.” – Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01)

“MLB’s decision to move its All-Star game from Georgia to Colorado will hurt Atlanta’s small business owners during one of the most challenging times ever for America’s small businesses. The league’s decision was based on a dangerous and false narrative regarding Georgia’s election law, which is actually more expansive than laws in many other states across the country, including New York. The MLB is what it is today because Congress protects it from any competitors. The fact that it would use its influence to actively advance a disinformation campaign is just wrong. MLB should stop playing politics and just stick to playing baseball.” – Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY-22)

“The powerful elites that run corporations like MLB have little regard for our country and its people. The MLB chose to politicize baseball by aligning its placement of the All-Star Game with the Democratic agenda. This bill is an important step to make sure that the federal government stops granting special privileges to these ‘woke corporations’. Thank you to Congressman Duncan for leading on this important issue.” – Rep. Mary Miller (IL-15).

“Major League Baseball’s decision to cave to liberal lies and politicize ‘America’s favorite pastime’ has had a devastating impact on the state of Georgia and the local economy at a time when businesses need revenue the most. Any organization that abuses its power to punish political opponents is unworthy of enjoying antitrust immunities.” – Rep Barry Moore (AL-02).

Congressman Lance Gooden (TX-05) - “The American people want election integrity - not sports figures muddling in politics. Major League Baseball should stick to what they know.”

“Professional sports are just the latest victim of "woke" culture. Major League Baseball has enjoyed a free pass to play outside the scope of federal antitrust laws for far too long. I support repealing this exemption and sending a message to those enriching themselves through political games that hurt minority communities.” – Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04).

“When Big Business teams up with the Washington elites, the American people lose. The MLB’s decision to abandon small businesses in Atlanta to appease the Biden Administration is a betrayal of hardworking Americans. Big Government should not give special treatment to Big Business for advancing the Left's radical and dishonest attack on election integrity.” – Congressman Bob Good (VA-05).


Text of the legislation can be found here.

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