Can Hollywood Counter GOP Super PACs?

by InvestorPlace Staff | July 19, 2012 5:54 pm

[1]With today’s announcement that actor Morgan Freeman has given $1 million[2] to the Obama-supporting super PAC Priorities Action USA today, some Democratic supporters are hopeful that it’s the start of a positive trend.  With Romney out-raising Obama[3], and Romney’s super PAC running circles around Obama’s, they’re hoping some Hollywood glitz, glamor, and money can turn the tide.

Some big names in Tinseltown have already written some big checks on behalf of Obama. DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has given $2 million to Priorities Action USA, comedian Bill Maher has given $1 million, director Steven Spielberg has given $100,000, and Lost creator J.J. Abrams and his wife have given $100,000.

While these are significant sums of money, they pale in comparison to what Romney’s super PAC, Restore Our Future, has done. Restore Our Future raised a record $20 million last month[4]. Romney’s super PAC has been buoyed by large donations from the likes of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, former Swift Boat Veterans for Truth financier Bob J. Perry, and New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. Chairman James S. Davis.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that Obama met with several young Hollywood stars[5] last month in Los Angeles. While Obama cannot explicitly tell them to give money to Priorities Action USA, since that would violate the rule against super PACs coordinating with candidates, he was definitely seeking more star involvement in his re-election campaign.

How effective Obama’s plea was remains to be seen. With his super PAC outraised by Romney’s by a 3-1 ratio last month, it certainly can’t hurt.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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