Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gay NBA Exec Welts:
$2K for McCain, $0 to No on Prop 8

Talk about a grand exit from the closet. Yesterday's front-page of the New York Times' recycled-tree edition reported the official coming out of Phoenix Suns executive Rick Welts as a gay man, and like many others I too laud his stepping out. Always good to have high-profile business folks, especially in professional sports, doing the right thing and stating that they are gay.

Wanting to learn more about Welts's political views, as best as they can be gleaned from Federal Election Commission and California election disclosure laws, I searched for any donations he may have made to politicians or PACs.

At the federal level, Welts in March 2003 donated $2,000 to Sen. John McCain's Patriot First PAC, and I imagine since Welts's team is based in the GOP senator's state, it makes sense that as a businessman he would want to support McCain. But what about McCain's opposition to gay rights legislation? Did Welts ignore those issues in order to make a contribution?

In February 2004 Welts gave former Sen. John Edwards $500 for his presidential campaign, and Edwards is way more supportive of gay rights than McCain so I don't believe Welts had to ignore anti-gay views of the recipient when writing the check.

That's it for Welts's giving at the national level, and in California no records turn up for him having made donations to any politician or ballot proposition race. The Secretary of State's campaign disclosure search engine shows no contributions, while the SF Chronicle's comprehensive data collection of donors contains no record of giving to either the Yes or No on Prop 8 campaigns.

Make of this what you will. I won't be surprised if Welts starts making donations to Gay Inc organizations, LGBT politicians and finds other ways to share his wealth and status with the community.

(Photo of Welts taken by Joshua Lott for the NY Times.)

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