Haim SabanNext Profile
Seven-figure contributions will buy any political donor an open door and willing heart among presidential candidates, but in the case of Haim Saban and the Clintons, it’s about more than money.
The Israeli-American media mogul has been a top donor and close friend to the Clintons for two decades. After contributing tens of millions of dollars to both of their campaigns, hosting numerous dinners and meetings, and spending time on casual phone calls and friendly emails, Saban had direct access to Hillary Clinton during her campaign.
Born in Egypt, Saban, who is 72, immigrated to Israel as a child. After moving to Los Angeles, he climbed up the Hollywood business ladder, making a fortune with his Power Ranger cartoon before moving on to bigger media adventures, which include owning the Spanish-language network Univision.
Centrist in his politics and hawkish when it comes to Israel, Saban used his direct line to Hillary Clinton to convince the candidate to distance herself from Obama’s policies on Israel. Leaked emails posted by Wikileaks reveal that Saban never saw his job as limited to writing checks. He commented, praised, complained and even worked closely with a Clinton adviser to craft a strong anti-BDS message for the candidate.
And Saban has never been shy about telling Clinton exactly what he thinks. “I told her: ‘Don’t shout. Why are you shouting all the time? It’s drilling a hole in my head,” he said after the Democratic Convention.
With Clinton’s loss, it remains to be seen what influence he can still wield with his combination of caring, cash and chutzpah.