Banking Executive Funds Lobbying Effort to Help Minor League Baseball Get Covid Relief Money

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  • Greg Rosenbaum, a banking executive who also owns a minor league baseball team, is funding a lobbying effort to secure federal Covid relief money while the next season gets underway.
  • Rosenbaum has ties to both the Democratic Party and Wall Street.

A banking executive and minor league baseball team owner launched an effort to help save various teams by hiring lobbyists to secure federal Covid relief funds as the new season gets underway.

Greg Rosenbaum, who owns a Cincinnati Reds farm team, is the executive pushing the effort.

Minor league baseball, which represents over 100 teams across the country, was hammered by the coronavirus pandemic last year as it canceled its season.

A report by Sportico noted that minor league baseball clubs combined lost $800 million in revenue last year alone. Baseball America reported in March that minor league clubs were shut out of receiving Covid relief money in the $1.9 trillion package recently signed into law by President Joe Biden.

CNBC discovered Rosenbaum's involvement in the effort after reviewing a lobbying disclosure report signed this month that lists the address for his Maryland-based investment firm, Palisades Associates, as the address of the client. The Rosenbaum-listed business on the lobbying registration form is Minor League Baseball Relief, Inc.

The lobbying report shows that the Rosenbaum-led venture registered lobbyists in April from the influential firm Akin, Gump, Strauss. Ed Pagano, one of the lobbyists listed on the registration form, has experience working in former President Barack Obama's White House. Another has direct ties to former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The focus of the lobbying campaign, according to the registration report, is "emergency assistance for Minor League Baseball Clubs impacted by Covid-19." It remains unclear how much the lobbyists will be seeking from the federal government.

The form does not say whether the lobbyists will engage with Biden's administration or Congress. None of them responded to CNBC's requests for comment.

Jeff Lantz, a spokesman for Minor League Baseball, said it's his understanding that multiple teams are involved with the effort, but he referred CNBC to Rosenbaum for further comment.

Although Rosenbaum declined to provide further details, including how much the campaign is going to cost, he did not deny his involvement or that he is leading this effort. "We do not have anything further to provide beyond what appears in the lobbying disclosure filing," he said in an email to CNBC on Thursday.

A spokesman for Major League Baseball did not respond to a request for comment.

Infielder D.J. Burt #9 of the Amarillo Sod Poodles fields a throw during the game against the Midland RockHounds at HODGETOWN Stadium on May 23, 2021 in Amarillo, Texas.
John E. Moore III | Getty Images
Infielder D.J. Burt #9 of the Amarillo Sod Poodles fields a throw during the game against the Midland RockHounds at HODGETOWN Stadium on May 23, 2021 in Amarillo, Texas.

Rosenbaum has ties to the Democratic Party and Wall Street. Mergr, a website that provides data on private equity deals, says that prior to founding Palisades Associates, Rosenbaum was a founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group. He also had a stint at the Boston Consulting Group.

Rosenbaum's role as a player within the Democratic Party has gone largely under the radar.

He is listed as a member of the board of directors for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a progressive 501(c)(4), that was once led by current Biden White House advisor Neera Tanden. Rosenbaum was also the chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council and was nominated in 2016 as a vice chair of the platform committee for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Though he did contribute to Biden's 2020 campaign for president, Rosenbaum's bigger donations came prior to the most recent election cycle, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. In 2016, he gave over $33,000 to the Democratic National Committee when Hillary Clinton was running for president. Rosenbaum gave $25,000 to the DNC during the 2012 cycle when Obama was running for reelection.

Rosenbaum and his associates bought the Ohio-based Dayton Dragons in 2014. The team is a Class A affiliate of MLB's Cincinnati Reds.

The Dayton Dragons ownership group, Palisades Arcadia Baseball LLC, did receive a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan worth over $860,000, according to data from ProPublica. The PPP loan application portal closed days ago.

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