Charles B. Johnson, the billionaire owner of the San Francisco Giants and the former CEO of Franklin Resources, came under scrutiny for donating thousands to the campaign of Lauren Boebert who won a seat in the House in November, representing Colorado.
Johnson, and his wife, Ann, both donated $2,800 to Boebert’s campaign, NBC Sports reported Friday, citing recent FEC filings. But the donations have come under criticism after Boebert’s comments during the U.S. Capitol riot in Washington as Congress was certifying the presidential election results.
Boebert tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was removed from her chambers during the riot. The tweet had many politicians calling for Boebert’s removal from Congress. In July, Boebert also came under fire for saying she hoped Q was “real” in reference to the conspiracy theory that a high-level government official peeled back the curtain on what the so-called deep state has “done” to affect Americans.
Johnson received criticism from Giants play-by-play announcer Renel Brooks-Moon and Pelosi’s daughter, Christine.
Christine Pelosi told the Sacramento Bee: “This is pathetic. This is about felony murder and it’s about someone who tweeted the whereabouts of a person that was target of an assassination.”
Charles Johnson, 88, was forced to release a statement amid the backlash. He said he wasn’t aware Boebert was associated with QAnon.
“Like most of the country, I watched in dismay as our Capitol was overrun last week,” he said. “I hope that those who engaged in or encouraged violence are held accountable for their behavior. I have a long history of giving political contributions to Republican and some Democratic candidates who share my strong belief in a free market system. My contributions are mine alone and are not associated in any way with the San Francisco Giants.
“It is often difficult to predict the future behavior of candidates and I would never have imagined that any legitimate candidate would participate in undermining the core values of our great country. Nor was I aware that any candidate to whom I contributed was associated with QAnon. I strongly believe in our democratic system where our elected representatives can engage in vigorous debate in the halls of government, free from violence and intimidation and in a peaceful and respectful manner. I hope we can return to this tradition that has served our great country so well for so long.”
The Associated Press reported that political contributions were suspended in wake of the rioting.
Johnson has donated about $11 million in the last five years to Republican candidates, ESPN reported last year. Since 2000, His donations have reportedly been to the campaigns of Mitt Romney, John Boehner and Ben Quayle. The New York Times reported that Johnson also donated to a Super Pac supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential run in 2016.
This election, Johnson donated to the campaigns of Republicans Tommy Tuberville, Jeff Van Drew, Burgess Owens, Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue, Madison Cawthorn and Laura Loomer. His last donations appeared to go to Loeffler and Perdue as they were in special and runoff elections for Georgia U.S. Senate seats.
In 2018, Johnson’s contribution to the campaign of Cindy Hyde-Smith aslo sparked controversy. She was in a runoff for U.S. senator in Mississippi against Mike Espy. The Republican was caught on video she’d be in the “front row” if she was invited to a public hanging.