Obama’s Fundraiser Favoritism

- November 26, 2013

Obama Is Set To Appear For One Of His Biggest Benefactors One Year After Secretly Breaking A Pledge At Katzenberg's Side



Obama's One Official Event Today Will Be A Speech At The Company Of Jeffrey Katzenberg, "One Of Obama's Biggest Contributors And Fundraisers." "President Obama will visit the Glendale campus of DreamWorks Animation SKG next week during a trip to Los Angeles. Obama will tour the site and make a speech to the company's employees, the White House confirmed Thursday. 'On Tuesday, November 26, the president will visit DreamWorks Animation facility in Glendale, California, to deliver remarks on the economy,' White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. 'The American motion picture and television industry is a growing industry and continues to create thousands of jobs all across the country.' The visit is not a surprise given that DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg is one of Obama's biggest contributors and fundraisers." (Richard Verrier and Kathleen Hennessey, "Obama To Visit DreamWorks Animation Next Week," Los Angeles Times, 11/21/13)

  • The White House Defended Obama's Visit, Claiming Katzenberg's Political Support Had "No Bearing" On Their Decision Give The Speech. "DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg's strong political support of President Obama had 'no bearing' on the White House's decision to schedule a presidential visit there, the White House said Monday. 'Contributing to the president's campaign or being a political supporter of the president doesn't guarantee you a presidential visit, but it shouldn't exclude you from one either,' principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters traveling from Seattle to San Francisco aboard Air Force One. Obama is set to speak on the economy at DreamWorks's Los Angeles-area headquarters on Tuesday." (Jennifer Epstein, "White House Defends Obama Visit To Donor Katzenberg's Dreamworks," Politico, 11/25/13)

Katzenberg Is One Of Obama's Biggest Campaign Contributors

Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg Has Contributed Nearly $5 Million To Democratic Campaigns And Affiliates, While His Wife Marilyn Has Contributed Nearly $700,000. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 11/26/13)

  • In 2012 Katzenberg Bundled At Least $500,000 For Obama. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 11/22/13)
  • "A May 2012 Fundraiser Hosted By Katzenberg At George Clooney's House Raised Nearly $15 Million For The Obama Campaign." (Richard Verrier and Kathleen Hennessy, "Obama To Visit DreamWorks Animation Next Week," Los Angeles Times, 11/21/13)
  • In 2008 Katzenberg Bundled At Least $500,000 For Obama. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 11/22/13)
  • Since 1984, Katzenberg And His Wife Have Contributed $845,300 To The DNC And The Obama Campaign. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 11/26/13
  • During The 2012 Election Cycle, Katzenberg Contributed $3 Million To Pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 11/26/13)

In 2012, Obama Broke His Super PAC Campaign Pledge To Attend A Katzenberg Event

"Days After His Dismal Denver Presidential Debate Performance, Barack Obama Secretly Attended A Fundraiser For A Super PAC In Violation Of A Campaign Pledge To Avoid Such Events." "Four days after his dismal Denver presidential debate performance, Barack Obama secretly attended a fundraiser for a super PAC in violation of a campaign pledge to avoid such events, according to the authors of a new book, Double Down: Game Change 2012." (Michael Scherer, "Book: Obama Attended Super PAC Fundraiser, Violating 2012 Campaign Pledge," TIME, 11/4/13)

  • The Fundraiser Was Hosted By Katzenberg And "Publically Described" As A "Thank You" For A "Small Group Of Donors" But It Was A Priorities USA Event. "The $35 million estate of Jeffrey Katzenberg sat on Loma Vista Drive at the top of Beverly Hills, occupying six acres, with a majestic view of the City of Angels sprawled out below. Obama and Clinton arrived there that Sunday afternoon, October 7, for lunch with Katzenberg and a handful of the rich and famous. Though the White House publicly described the event only as a 'thank you' for a 'small group of donors,' it was, in fact, a Priorities USA function- the sort of shindig that Obama had sworn never to attend." (Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Double Down: Game Change 2012, 2013)
  • Katzenberg Called The Event A "Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience - What He Called 'Unobtainium'" And Had Each Donor Make A $1 Million Contribution To Priorities USA. "For Katzenberg , having two presidents in his concert-hall-size living room was a fitting reward; no Democratic buck-raker had raised more dough in 2012. Katzenberg pitched the lunch to invitees as a once-in-a-lifetime experience- what he called 'unobtainium.' He recommended that they donate $ 1 million to Priorities, and bagged three checks in that amount just the Friday before. He pledged to keep his guests' presence secret. (To ferry them to a public campaign fund-raiser afterwards, there would be a private shuttle with tinted windows .) In the end, nine tycoons from the worlds of Hollywood and high tech turned up: Reid Hoffman, Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Vinod Khosla, Seth MacFarlane, Sean Parker, Mark Pincus, Eric Schmidt, and Steven Spielberg." (Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Double Down: Game Change 2012, 2013)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, February 2012: "The President, Vice President, First Lady, Dr. Biden Will Not Appear At Any Of These Events Associated With These Organizations [Super PACs]." Q : "So from the President's point of view, do you not see any inconsistency in talking about the corrosive influence of money, and then encouraging donors to give to groups that collect-- "CARNEY: "Well, let's be clear about a couple of things. One, his views on the problems associated with this decision have not changed, and he has expressed them as recently as a few days ago and will continue to express them. Two, the President, Vice President, First Lady, Dr. Biden will not appear at any of these events associated with these organizations." (White House Press Briefing, Washington D.C., 2/7/12)


This Morning, Obama Will Attend A "One-Hour, Off-The-Cuff Discussion" At The Home Of Marta Kauffman And Michael Skloff, Costing Attendees $32,400 A Piece. "On Nov. 26, a roundtable discussion with the president that had to be shelved in the wake of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis and the government shutdown will take place at the home of Friends creator Marta Kauffman and her husband, Michael Skloff. Actress Melanie Griffith will co-host. A seat at the one-hour, off-the-cuff discussion will set attendees back $32,400 each. The invite to that event was widely distributed via email to Hollywood fundraisers Friday morning." (Tina Daunt, "Obama Headed To Hollywood For Multimillion-Dollar Fundraisers," The Hollywood Reporter, 11/8/13)

Yesterday, Obama Attended A Fundraiser Hosted By Major Democratic Donors Cheryl And Haim Saban . "Later that evening, Cheryl and Haim Saban will host a fundraising dinner for the president at their Beverly Hills compound. Couples can attend for $32,400 and singles for $16,200. That includes not only a meal, but also a photo with Obama." (Tina Daunt, "Obama Headed To Hollywood For Multimillion-Dollar Fundraisers," The Hollywood Reporter, 11/8/13)

  • Obama Also Made An Appearance At A Fundraiser Hosted By Magic And Cookie Johnson. "Invitations also have gone out all over town to a pair of events the night before. First up is a reception at the home of Earvin 'Magic' Johnson and his wife, Cookie, at which guests can mingle with the chief executive for as little as $2,500 each, though a $15,000 contribution also gets you a chance to be photographed with Obama. Senate majority leader Harry Reid and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi will also be on hand, along with DCCC chairman Steve Israel and DSCC chairman Michael Bennet." (Tina Daunt, "Obama Headed To Hollywood For Multimillion-Dollar Fundraisers,"The Hollywood Reporter, 11/8/13)
  • Earlier In The Day, Obama Attended A Luncheon Hosted By Robert Mailer Anderson And Nicola Miner. "The luncheon on Monday, Nov. 25 at the San Francisco Jazz Center will be hosted by novelist Robert Mailer Anderson and his wife, Nicola Miner, who held a fundraiser for Obama in their Pacific Heights home in February 2012. An invitation to the event says tickets cost $1,000 per person; $5,000 for lunch and a photo reception; $7,500 for lunch and the photo reception for two; $10,000 for lunch and the photo reception for a family of up to five people; or $15,000 for lunch and a special co-chair reception. All money goes to the Democratic National Committee." (Josh Richman, "Tix Start At $1k For Obama's DNC Fundraiser In SF," Bay Area News' Political Blotter, 10/31/13)

On Sunday, Obama Caught Up With Major Donors At Two Seattle Fundraisers. "President Obama plans a Sunday fundraising stop in Seattle as part of a West Coast swing to raise money for Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. For most locals, Obama's visit may mean no more than a glimpse at the presidential motorcade zipping past. No public events had been announced as of Thursday. But an exclusive group of wealthy Democratic donors will shell out up to $32,400 per couple to get up-close access to the president at a pair of political fundraisers." (Jim Brunner, "President Obama In Seattle On Sunday For Fundraisers," Seattle Times, 11/21/13)

  • Obama Held A "Discussion" At The Home Of Sonya And Tom Campion Where Guests Paid $20,000 Per Ticket. "On Sunday afternoon, Obama is scheduled to headline a 'discussion' at the North Seattle home of Sonya and Tom Campion, according to an invitation circulated in local Democratic circles. The price tag for that event is $20,000 per person (or $32,400 per couple), with the money benefiting the Democratic National Committee." (Jim Brunner, "President Obama In Seattle On Sunday For Fundraisers," Seattle Times, 11/21/13)

Later That Evening, Obama Attended A Fundraiser At The Home Of Microsoft Executive Jon Shirley."Later Sunday, Obama is scheduled to attend a dinner and cocktail reception at the Medina home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley. That event, to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), also will feature House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., according to an invitation. Democratic members of Washington's congressional delegation also are expected to attend. The cost is $16,200 per person (or $32,400 per couple), with donors getting a receiving-line photo with the president." (Jim Brunner, "President Obama In Seattle On Sunday For Fundraisers," Seattle Times, 11/21/13)

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