Hollywood Money Figures Heavily in President Obama's Reelection Campaign
President Barack Obama's reelection campaign offered a preliminary peak at its fund-raising sources Friday and -- sketchy though the picture may be -- it's clear just how big a part Hollywood is going to play in the coming race for the White House.
The figures released this week were for so-called "bundlers" -- people, usually big givers themselves, who persuade wealthy friends and associates to give and, then, aggregate all those contributions for a particular candidate, in this case the incumbent chief executive.
Among the Industry or entertainment-connected heavy weights who already have bundled $500,000 or more for Obama are Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ken Solomon, Andy Spahn, Harvey Weinstein, John Emerson and Noah Mamet. Colleen Bell and Jamie Lynton have bundled $200,000 and $500,000 on Obama's behalf. Ari Emanuel already has put together between $100,000 and $200,000 for the president's reelection, as have Kerman Maddox, Clarence Avant, Mel Levine and Michael Lynton.
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Bundlers are likely to play a more important role than ever because of the advent of so-called super PACs, which -- as long as they operate independently of a candidate's actual campaign committee -- can spend an unlimited amount of money to support a candidacy. This will be the first presidential election in which the super PACs are active and they seem bound to amplify the bundlers' role and influence, since someone with a circle of deep-pocketed friends and associates can go back to them repeatedly as the campaign heats up. There's no limit on how much the wealthy can give--and wealthy Hollywood has a history and culture of political giving.
Look for the names on this list to turn up again and again on the political donation reports.