By Joe Harris
As we mentioned here last week, the reelection effort for President Barack Obama includes a horde of A-List celebrities who have ponied-up in bringing their Tinseltown pals onboard the chief executive’s campaign donor bandwagon. Federal Election Commission (FEC) records indicate that those fundraising dynamos—called “bundlers” in the parlance of election slang—who list entertainment (TV/Movies/Music) as their profession are among the president’s high-roller bundlers, accounting for close to $7 million in donor money as of April. The names that top Obama’s famous contributors include actor and activist George Clooney, “Lost” co-creator and “Star Trek” director J.J. Abrams, and Hollywood powerhouses Steven Spielberg, Leonardo Di Caprio, and Tobey Maguire.
On the LGBT side of things, the Commander-in-Chief counts among his troops “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy, talk show host Suze Orman, television stars Jane Lynch, Neil Patrick Harris, and EllenDeGeneres, Scottish stage and film actor Alan Cumming, screen writer Dustin Lance Black, performer Ricky Martin, and openly gay children’s author Maurice Sendak, who—prior to his death last month donated to the president’s reelection effort. (The president has said that “Where the Wild Things Are” is one of his favorite books, and has read it to children during the White House Easter Egg Roll.)
The president’s presumptive Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, lags behind the Democratic incumbent in terms of campaign star power—although his presidential campaign shot past the president’s last month in fundraising, bringing in close to $77 million, nearly $17 million more than Obama’s—but it does include some familiar names and faces.
According to FEC filings, and records of the Center for Responsive Politics, Romney’s celebrity supporters include country performer Trace Adkins, former “Happy Days” star Scott Baio—who has appearances on the GOP candidate’s behalf, and donated the legal limit to Romney’s campaign in November—1960s game show staple Orson Bean, a well-known conservative and father-in-law to the late conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, “Pirates of the Caribbean” producer and “CSI” creator Jerry Bruckheimer—one of Hollywood’s richest men—who donated the max individual amount to Romney in March. (OpenSecrets.org reports that since 1990, Bruckheimer and his wife have contributed over $120,000 to political campaigns—since 2002, most of them Republicans.)
Former 1970s teen idol and fellow Mormon Donny Osmond contributed the $2,500 legal limit in December to Romney’s campaign. His sister, Marie Osmond, is also a supporter, although has not made any financial contribution to the Romney campaign. KISS bass player and reality television star Gene Simmons endorsed Romney in April on Twitter. “America is a business, and should be run by a businessman,” Simmons said, although he is not listed as a Romney donor in FEC records. Jon Voight, father of actress Angelina Jolie, and star of “Midnight Cowboy,” has called Romney “strong” and “honest,” and told CNN’s Piers Morgan that the Republican candidate is “a fellow who shoots from the hip … He’s got great values.” The praise has not yet translated to a campaign donation. One of the McCain campaign’s top bundlers in 2008, Donald Trump donated the legal limit to Romney’s campaign in December. After toying with his own run for president, the billionaire real estate mogul endorsed Romney in February, saying that the former Massachusetts governor is “not going to continue to allow bad things to happen to this country.”