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What Horrible Right-wing (or Criminal) Cause Is Your Favorite Sports Team Connected To?

Franchise owners have relations to organized crime, government surveillance, deep-pocketed political entities and financial irregularities that bilked people out of billions.

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When the New York Times dropped its bombshell last week disclosing a secret 54-page proposal outlining how a Republican Super PAC would spend $10 million attacking President Obama and painting him as some kind of “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln,” it wasn’t just interested Washington observers whose eyebrows were raised. The plan was apparently created and was to be funded by billionaire TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, whose family has owned a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs since 2009. Within hours, Ricketts himself came out and  rejected the plan that bore his name — in an obvious attempt to calm Chicago city leaders, who he’s hoping will shell out millions in public financing to renovate Wrigley Field.

It was far from the first time that scandal has reared its head in the highest echelons of sports ownership. Follow the connections closely enough and one will find dozens of franchise owners who have either direct of tangential relations to organized crime, government surveillance initiatives, deep-pocketed political entities and financial irregularities that bilked people out of billions. What horrible right-wing (or criminal) cause is your favorite team connected to?

Chicago Cubs are owned by  Joe Ricketts, who apparently planned to pour $10 million into an  anti-Obama super PAC,which would have developed a  Jeremiah Wright ad campaign

Los Angeles Dodgers are co-owned by  Magic Johnson, whose group bought the team from  Frank McCourt, who bought the team from  Fox Entertainment Groupwhich is run by  Rupert Murdoch 

New York Mets are owned by  Fred Wilpon, who blindly invested with  Bernie Madoff, who was convicted of running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme

San Diego Padres are owned by  John Moores, who succeeded Tom Werner, who succeeded the wife of the late  Ray Kroc, the man  responsible for the global popularity of  McDonald’s, which has helped contribute to  unprecedented nationwide obesity

New York Jets are owned by  Woody Johnson, who gave much financial support to the  2008 Republican National Convention, where there were  hundreds of antiwar protesters arrested

Houston Texans are owned by  Bob McNair, who gave $100,000 last year to the  Make Us Great Again super PAC,which was formed to support  Rick Perry’s presidential campaign

Chicago White Sox used to be owned by  Charles Comiskey,whose cheapness led to the  Black Sox scandal, which was influenced by  Arnold Rothstein, who was notorious for orchestrating  illegal gambling

Houston Astros are owned by  Jim Crane, who was preceded by Drayton McLane Jr., who helped orchestrate a  new stadium deal, which took millions in naming rights from  Enron, which collapsed on account of  billions of dollars in fraudulent accounting

Texas Rangers are co-owned by  Nolan Ryan, who succeeded Tom Hicks, who bought the team from  George W. 

Erik Malinowski is night editor at Deadspin. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikMal

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