Jeffrey Katzenberg Throws a Lifeline to Barack Obama's Super Pac

2012-05 REP Jeffrey Katzenberg Barack Obama
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Jeffrey Katzenberg (left) introduced President Barack Obama at a DNC fund-raiser at the Beverly Hilton in 2009.

The DreamWorks Animation chief will host an "informational session" for Priorities USA with entertainment industry Democrats later this month.

Further solidifying his role as the Democrats’ go-to Hollywood fundraiser, the party’s biggest super PAC has turned to DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg as part of an effort to shore up its lagging performance.

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Katzenberg will host what’s being billed as “an intimate dinner on behalf of Priorities USA Action” on March 27 at Beverly Hills’ Scarpetta Restaurant.

In an indication of the importance the White House attaches to ramping up the tempo of Priorities’ fundraising, which has badly underperformed by comparison with similar Republican efforts, President Barack Obama’s senior political advisor, David Plouffe, will make the trip out for the event.

Katzenberg's political advisor, Andy Spahn, told The Hollywood Reporter that the event is not a fundraiser but rather an informational session. (Although people showing up with checkbooks will not be turned away.)

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Priorities USA co-founder Bill Burton also will attend, as will long-time Democratic strategist and television political commentator Paul Begala, who is a senior advisor to the PAC.

Like other Democratic super PAC’s, Priorities has labored under the burden of the Obama re-election campaign’s somewhat schizophrenic attitude to what is emerging as an extremely influential political expenditure mechanism in this election cycle. The president initially used his 2010 State of the Union speech to denounce the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, which made the formation of super PAC’s legally possible.

However, as the GOP’s advantage in funding such operations has mounted—and their potential influence become clearer—the White House has changed course and has begun making top campaign officials and even administration aides available to speak at their fundraisers.

Katzenberg remains the group's largest donor, with a $2 million contribution last year.