Hollywood Republicans Keeping Their Wallets Shut for Presidential Hopefuls

Mitt Romney has the support of moguls such as Terry Semel, Michael Burns and Harry Sloan, but after that the list of donors is small

(Updated: 8:44 a.m. PST)

GOP support may be growing in Hollywood, but the money hasn't exactly been flowing to the party’s presidential hopefuls.

Front-runner Mitt Romney has fared the best among the GOP field, picking up donations from
Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns, former Metro Goldwyn Mayer chief Harry Sloan, and former Yahoo! and Warner Bros. head Terry Semel, according to recent campaign filings. 

Romney also raised an estimated $1 million at a December fundraiser at the Beverly Hills Hotel. However, the bulk of that money came not from the movie industry, but from Los Angeles investors and hedge fund managers including Canyon Capital's Josh Friedman and Goldman Sachs’ Gene Sykes.

Another Los Angeles fundraiser is planned for March 27, according to Sloan. 

Also read: With Obama Struggling in Hollywood, GOP Support on the Rise

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hollywood conservatives contend that fear of reprisals is keeping some GOP supporters mum in showbiz circles, and suggest that support is split in Love Romney or Hate Romney camps. Many political sages believe that Romney is a lock to earn the Republican nomination, but despite, or possibly because of, his aura of inevitability, Hollywood’s most prominent conservatives seem to be sitting the race out for now.

Gary Sinise, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jon Voight and Drew Carey apparently have yet to cut a check to any of the presidential aspirants.

Even those that have taken a side remain stubbornly parsimonious. Kelsey Grammer and Wayne Newton endorsed Michele Bachmann during her aborted run, Dean Cain praised former hopeful Rick Perry, and Chuck Norris threw his dropkick behind Newt Gingrich, but none of that support appeared to come with donations.

Also read: Is Hollywood Bailing on Obama?

Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race in August, did get some Hollywood backing before he bowed out: Semel donated $2,500 to his campaign and “Still Standing” star Jami Gertz was so galvanized by the former Minnesota governor’s bid for the White House that her contributions exceeded the maximum amount allowed by law and had to be returned. 

Comedian Dennis Miller briefly backed Herman Cain, but a spokesman declined to say whether he opened his wallet for him.

As for President Barack Obama, the enthusiasm in the movie and television business for his message of hope and change has dimmed since his historic 2008 run, but Hollywood continues to be a major source of campaign cash.

Also read: Mitt Romney Won't Stop Talking About Michigan Trees

While the president has been slammed by former supporters such as Matt Damon and Robert Redford for failing to make good on many campaign promises, he swings through Los Angeles in search of funds regularly.

In his most recent jaunt to the Southland, Obama raised money at a pair of tony events. Supporters shelled out between $250 to $35,000 to rock with the president at a Foo Fighters concert and an intimate dinner at the Holmby Hills home of "The Bold and the Beautiful" executive producer Bradley Bell.

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Harvey Weinstein, and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment Co-CEO Ari Emanuel remain among the president’s top bundlers, with the movie business responsible for over $1.2 million in contributions to the Obama campaign.

The bad news is that figure is less than half of the $2.8 million the president raised from Hollywood at this point in his 2008 campaign.

Liberals in the movie business are more generous than their conservative counterparts, but in this election cycle, no team is giving money like they once did.  

Leanne Williams contributed to this report.