Hollywood Ponies Up Big for Obama

Spielberg and Katzenberg Give 1M Each in Stretch Run

7 Figures: Steven Spielberg gave $1 million to a super PAC supporting the reelection of President Obama as the race heads to the finish line.
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7 Figures: Steven Spielberg gave $1 million to a super PAC supporting the reelection of President Obama as the race heads to the finish line.

By Reuters

Published October 20, 2012.
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Democratic donors gave unprecedented amounts of money in September to their party’s three main “Super PACs,” federal disclosures revealed on Friday, a reflection of how wealthy Democrats’ reluctance to give to such groups has faded in the weeks before the Nov. 6 election.

Dreamworks’ Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg gave $1 million each, Politico reported. Other seven-figure donors included media mogul Fred Eychaner, who gave $2 million. Hedge fund manager James Simons gave $1.5 million and businessman S. Daniel Abraham contributed $1.2 million, the site reported.

A fundraising laggard for much of the campaign, the political action committee (PAC) backing President Barack Obama raised more than a rival group backing Republican Mitt Romney, the second consecutive month the Democratic group has done so.

The pro-Obama group Priorities USA Action raised $15.2 million in September, compared with $14.8 million for the pro-Romney group Restore Our Future, according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Restore Our Future, a formidable advertising force whose attack ads on Romney’s Republican rivals helped him secure the party’s presidential nomination, began the crucial month of October with $16.6 million in cash on hand.

On Saturday, Priorities’ filings are due to reveal its cash on hand and donors for September.

Republican PACs have invested far more in advertising than Obama’s backers, spending $84.1 million since Sept. 10 alone, according to a Reuters analysis of disclosures through Oct. 18. Democratic-aligned groups spent $23.1 million in that time.

Early this year, many Democratic donors were reluctant to donate to PACs supporting their party’s candidates because they disliked the idea of contributing to attack ads and other negative advertising - a staple of spending by groups known as “Super PACs” because they have no limits on how much they can raise and spend.

In recent months, fundraising for Democratic PACs has accelerated to counter the waves of anti-Obama and anti-Democratic ads from Republican groups.

Priorities in September received $2 million from founder of Newsweb Corp Fred Eychaner; $1.5 million from billionaire hedge fund manager of Renaissance Technologies Corp James Simons; and $1 million each from film director Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and New York lawyer David Boies Jr, according to filings.

The group had $7.3 million in cash on hand at the end of last month, Saturday’s filing showed. Spending nearly three times less than Priorities in September, Restore Our Future started October with $16.6 million.


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