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Sens. Cruz, Lee, Hawley, Rubio, Blackburn Introduce Bill to Subject MLB to Antitrust Laws

‘If Major League Baseball is going to act dishonestly and spread lies about Georgia’s voting rights bill to favor one party against the other, they shouldn’t expect to continue to receive special benefits from Congress’

April 14, 2021

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) today introduced a bill to remove the antitrust exemption for Major League Baseball (MLB). Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), with over 20 cosponsors, has produced companion legislation in the House. Yesterday, Sens. Cruz, Lee, and Hawley spoke to reporters and announced their bill in response to the MLB's hyper-partisan decision to move the 2021 All-Star game and draft out of Georgia. Read the full text of their bill here.

Upon introduction of this bill, Sen. Cruz said:

"For nearly a century, Major League Baseball has enjoyed a special exemption from antitrust laws that other professional sports leagues do not. Major League Baseball asks for your ID when you pick up tickets at will-call, but they have made it clear they oppose photo ID requirements to vote. If Major League Baseball is going to act dishonestly and spread lies about Georgia's voting rights bill to favor one party against the other, they shouldn't expect to continue to receive special benefits from Congress."

Sen. Lee said:

"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. 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."

Sen. Hawley said:

"MLB and woke mega-corporations have been coddled by government for too long. For decades, the MLB has been given a sweetheart deal by Washington politicians. But if they'd prefer to be partisan political activists instead, maybe it's time to rethink that. With their capitulation to the left-wing Twitter mob and support for Biden's big lie about election integrity, they've forfeited any right to an anti-trust exemption. They must be held to the same standard as the rest of American business."

Sen. Rubio said:

"For decades, Major League Baseball has enjoyed a special exemption from the same antitrust laws that govern other businesses in our nation. The league has been able to escape scrutiny in part thanks to its perception as a good-faith guardian of America's national pastime. But with its reprehensible decision to play politics and punish the State of Georgia - and countless small and minority-owned Georgian businesses - by moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, the MLB has shown its willingness to use its market power, derived from its antitrust exemption, irresponsibly. Now, Congress is obligated to revisit this unique treatment."

Sen. Blackburn said:

"A corporation that happily does business with the communist regimes in Cuba and China but caves to woke CEOs who want to punish states with Voter ID does not deserve any special immunities in antitrust law."

Rep. Duncan added:

"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. 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."

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