Who's giving what to whom? An early look at the biggest contributors in showbiz
The next big national elections may not be for another year, but Hollywood types aren't sitting on their wallets until then — Jeffrey Katzenberg, J.J. Abrams, Alan Horn, Tom Rothman and James L. Brooks are among those already donating big bucks to political organizations and candidates of their choice.
The Top 20 showbiz donors have already shelled out an estimated $1.45 million collectively this year, according to an analysis provided to TheWrap from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Florida music producer Bill Edwards and his wife Joanne led the list with $164,800 donated to Republicans, according to the latest figures for the year. But most of the Hollywood money has gone to Democrats.
Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn, the second largest givers, have forked over $137,600 to Democratic campaigns and committees — including $100,000 to the Senate Majority Political Action Committee, which seeks to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate.
"Star Trek" and "Star Wars" director Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, have given $117,200 — the third largest — all to Democrats.
Their contributions include $32,400 to the Democratic National Committee; $10,200 to Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s re-election effort; $5,000 for Newark Mayor Corey Booker’s race for the U.S. Senate; and $5,000 for Alaskan Sen. Mark Begich’s re-election campaign.
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Horn and his wife Cindy, former Fox exec Rothman and his wife Jessica, and producer-director Brooks, all also gave money to Democrats.
Republicans are getting some entertainment money, too — but from media execs outside Hollywood. Hubbard Broadcasting CEO Stanley Hubbard and his wife Karen, the fourth largest givers, have given $110,800 overall with all but $10,400 donated to Republicans.
The rankings are based on the latest Federal Election Commission data, which can run several months behind, according to Douglas H. Weber, senior researcher for the center. June and July contributions, when finally incorporated, could affect the rankings.
Democrats have actively courted Hollywood givers this year, with two fundraisers featuring President Obama among the most high-profile outreach activities. In May, Harvey Weinstein hosted a New York fundraiser while Chernin Group CEO Peter Chernin hosted his Santa Monica fundraiser in June.
Neither Chernin nor Weinstein yet show up as contributors in FEC data.
The Democratic National Committee reported it drew contributions in May and June of $32,400 each from Susan St. James, TV producer Jonathan Littman, Uma Thurman, Jamie Alter (the wife of Sony CEO Michael Lynton), Disney CEO Robert Iger and HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said its contributions in June included $32,400 from producer Marcy Carsey and $64,800 from Act 4 Entertainment’s David and Susan Johnson.
The top 20 showbiz contributors includes not only Hollywood producers and execs, but cable and satellite execs. It also includes a Broadway producer, a top entertainment lawyer and several broadcast TV execs.
Here's a look at the top showbiz donors:
1. Bill & Joanne Edwards
St. Petersburg, Fla.,-based Bill Edwards has had a twin career as a record producer who's worked with Carnie Wilson, Cheap Trick and "American Idol" finalist Michael Lynche. He also runs a major mortgage refinancing company. Edwards personally gave $4.6 million to Tampa’s host committee to offset the cost of the 2012 Republican National Convention.
2. Jeffrey & Marilyn Katzenberg
DreamWorks Animation head Katzenberg (right with his wife) has been a longtime major Democratic giver. In the last election cycle, Katzenberg gave $3 million to the Priorities USA Political Action Committee ($2 million of which was in 2011), $100,000 to the Democratic Majority PAC and he and his wife have each made annual contributions to the Democratic National Committee.
3. J.J. Abrams & Katie McGrath
Abrams and his wife's contributions exceeded $116,000 during the 2011-2012 cycle. This year the contributions have included $32,400 each to the Democratic National Committee and $5,000 each for Newark Mayor Corey Booker race for the U.S. Senate and $5,000 each for Alaska Sen. Mark Begich's race. Abrams also contributed $10,200 to Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s political committee.
4. Stanley & Karen Hubbard
Hubbard Broadcasting gave $100,000 to American Crossroads, the PAC formed by Karl Rove in 2011, and $150,000 to Restore Our Future, the super PAC formed to aid Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. This year, each of the Hubbards gave $5,200 to the campaign committee of Democratic Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, but all their other contributions were to Republicans. Each of the Hubbards gave $20,000 to the Republican National Committee.
5. Charles W. and Cantey Ergen
The Dish Network co-founder and board chairman and his wife gave $187,500 during the 2012 election cycle. This year, Charlie Ergen gave $32,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, while Cantey gave the same amount to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Each gave $5,200 toward Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey’s successful race for the U.S. Senate and each also gave $5,200 to campaign committee of their home state senator, Mark Udall, D-Colo.
6. Alan & Cindy Horn
Disney Studios film chief Horn and his wife have been regular contributors to Democratic candidates and party committees, giving $200,000 in the 2012 election cycle. This year each gave $32,400 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
7. Stephen & Ellen Susman
Houston's Ellen Susman, a writer and author who hosted and produced PBS's "Balancing Your Life" series, and her husband Stephen Susman, one of the country’s top plaintiff's attorneys, have been strong contributors to Democratic candidates and committees, providing $333,000 in contributions in the 2012 cycle. This year Ellen has given $32,400 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and both Susman's have given to a number of Democratic candidates including $5,200 each to Newark Mayor's Corey Booker's campaign for the U.S. Senate and Sean Eldridge’s New York race for Congress.
8. Albert J. Kaneb
Barnstable Broadcasting CEO Albert J. Kaneb has consistently given to Democrats, including $116,000 in the last election cycle. This year Kaneb's contributions include $32,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
9. Tom and Jessica Rothman
Former Fox executive Tom Rothman and his wife gave $111,000 last cycle to Democrats and they are giving again this time. The contributions so far include $32,400 contributions from Tom Rothman to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
10. Joseph and Marie Field
Besides serving as board chairman of big radio broadcaster Entercom Communications, Joseph Field and his wife Marie are major contributors to Democratic candidates and groups. In the 2012 election cycle, their more than $520,000 in contributions included nearly $200,000 to Priorities USA Action and nearly $104,000 to the Democratic National Committee. This year each gave $32,400 to the Democratic National Committee.