As Obama Arrives in Hollywood, Showbiz Heavies Plan More Democratic Party Fundraisers
President Obama may be coming to town Monday afternoon for a pair of fundraisers, but those events are just the start of a busy week for many of the Democrats' major Hollywood donors. A series of gatherings in support of the party’s Congressional candidates also are planned.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi will be the big draw at a Tuesday night fundraiser hosted by director J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath. The event will be held on the rooftop of Abrams' Santa Monica production studio Bad Robot, with all proceeds going to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Dems willing to pop for $10,000 and $5,000 tickets will get an exclusive half-hour alone with the former Speaker at 5:30 p.m. A $1,000 contribution makes you just another face in the 6-8 p.m. crowd.
Abrams and McGrath have become one of the Democrats go-to Young Hollywood power couples. In June, they hosted First Lady Michelle Obama and, earlier, played a pivotal role in introducing Kamala Harris, then District Attorney of San Francisco, to the entertainment industry's Democratic community. Harris, currently the California party’s brightest star, went on to win a down-the-wire election as State Atty. General, with much of her crucial financial support supplied by Hollywood.
The Pelosi event’s list of co-hosts is a virtual who’s-who of Democratic Hollywood’s heavy-hitters, including Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ari Emanuel, Barbara Mandel and James L. Brooks, Barbra Streisand and James Brolin, gay rights activist and political strategist Chad Griffin and Barack Obama’s man-on-the-scene Andy Spahn.
Abrams and McGrath have already given $35,800 to Obama's re-election campaign this year, plus another $100,000 to the Democratic Super Pac, Priority USA Action. Abrams' efforts dovetail those of Katzenberg, who has become one of the Dems' key money raisers. (Katzenberg recently gave $2 million to Priorities USA, plus thousands more to the Democratic Party.)
Katzenberg and Obama's other Hollywood supporters have been busy drumming up support for the president's gatherings Monday at the House of Blues and Fig & Olive on chic Melrose Place, where the per-couple tariff is $33,800.
(If you're planning on driving on the Westside, beware: Guests will begin arriving at House of Blues at 4:30 p.m., just in time to complicate rush hour traffic along Sunset Boulevard. The dinner on Melrose Place will get under way around 6 p.m.)
The president's two gatherings, however, won't be the only political fundraisers on the Westside on Monday. Sid Sheinberg and his wife, Lorraine, are set to host an evening fundraiser for Congresswoman Lois Capps, who is running against former California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. Maldonado has received extensive support from the Republican Party and from the Super Pac run by former Bush White House political strategist Karl Rove.
As Monday's full dance card suggests, it's going to be a frenetic fund-raising season west of La Cienega between now and November 2012.
During last year's mid-term elections, the entertainment industry raised more than $30 million to help fund the battle for control of the House and Senate. Even though some Hollywood activists are chilly on giving to Obama at the moment, the Industry still is keen to support its congressional favorites.