H'wood on the campaign trail


WASHINGTON -- If campaign donations are any indication, Viacom is fond of Barack Obama, Comcast likes Hilary Clinton and Time Warner is sweet on both.

Hollywood continues to be a major financier of the nation's presidential campaigns, handing out $2.4 million to White House hopefuls during this election cycle (Jan. 1-March 30), according to an analysis of campaign contributions by the Center for Responsive Politics.

While Sen. Obama, D-Ill., has made headlines with high-profile fundraisers in California, he trails Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y., by a substantial margin in the Hollywood money race.

Clinton raised $806,558 from the television, movie and music industries, compared with Obama's $661,385, according to CRP's examination of the Federal Election Commission records of the 2008 cycle. The CRP calculates the data from political action committee contributions and contributions from individuals giving more than $200.

Time Warner (including its PAC and company employees) was the top Hollywood contributor to Clinton and Obama. Time Warner gave $62,250 to Clinton and $63,515 to Obama. Viacom gave Obama $38,530, and Comcast gave Clinton $37,500. The Saban Capital Group, founded by Haim Saban and among the new owners of Univision, also was fond of Clinton; its PAC and employees donated $39,100.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards ranked third overall with slightly less than $311,000 received, though no entertainment contributors were among the top 20 money givers to his campaign.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised slightly less than $240,000 from the entertainment industry, followed by another Republican, former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who raised about $105,000. McCain's top entertainment industry contributor was Univision with $63,900. There were no entertainment industry contributors in Guliani's top 20.

Lionsgate Entertainment was fond of Bill Richardson; the New Mexico governor received $18,400 of his $91,800 from people associated with that company. Lionsgate also gave dark-horse candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, $1,000.

While Hollywood is a key source of funding for campaigns, it is dwarfed by the contributions that come from lawyers and investment firms.

Attorneys and their firms were the biggest givers so far for '08, contributing at least $14.6 million to the 18 major Republican and Democratic candidates. The securities and investment industry was next with more than $8.6 million, but Wall Street firms dominate the list of top companies from across all industries.

Edwards, a former attorney, is the legal industry's favorite candidate, with nearly $4.4 million from lawyers and their firms. Clinton is next, with about $2.8 million from attorneys.

Other top industries footing the bill for the presidential race include real estate at $5.9 million and doctors and other health professionals at $2.2 million. Retired individuals have contributed almost as much as the investment industry -- more than $8.3 million.