From CEOs to Celebrities, Donors Give to Trump Challengers

Bill Allison
From CEOs to Celebrities, Donors Give to Trump Challengers

Much attention has been given to the importance of small-dollar donors to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Many of the candidates, too, boast that they’re not interested in money from corporate political action committees.

Turns out, thousands of high-dollar contributors have had no trouble getting their checks — often for the $2,800 primary-election maximum — cashed. They include celebrities as well as others with top posts in finance, media, technology, sports and entertainment.

Movie mogul and longtime political donor Jeffrey Katzenberg is among them. While many donors prefer to wait for the historically crowded field of Democratic candidates to fully form and eventually shrink, Katzenberg has decided not to choose. He’s instead spreading his money around by giving $2,800 to three White House hopefuls: senators Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

These are among the many details found in the first-quarter Federal Election Commission disclosures filed this week by the 2020 presidential candidates.

The filings do show a dearth of major financial-industry donors in the first quarter. That probably reflects this year’s crop of Democratic presidential candidates wanting to keep Wall Street, possibly more so than other corporate special interests, at arm’s length.

But that hasn’t stopped Booker from taking $2,800 from Orin Kramer, a hedge-fund manager and major check-bundler for numerous Democrats in the past. Kramer was an early supporter of Barack Obama in 2008.

Anna Wintour seems to have taken an early shine to former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who has received $2,800 from the Vogue editor-in-chief. And actress Reese Witherspoon maxed out to Gillibrand.

More below from FEC disclosures and Bloomberg research on some of those who have given $2,800 for the primary campaign.


Joshua Bekenstein, Co-chairman Bain Capital—Hickenlooper

Jon Bongiovi, Musician, Self employed—Booker

A. Steven Crown, General partner, Henry Crown & Co.—Booker

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Co-founder, DreamWorks—Harris

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Co-founder, DreamWorks—Booker

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Co-founder, DreamWorks—Gillibrand

Orin Kramer, Managing partner, Boston Provident—Booker

Marc Lasry, CEO, Avenue Capital—Gillibrand

Scott Mills, President, BET Networks—Harris

James Murdoch, Former CEO, 21st Century Fox—Buttigieg

Phil Murphy, Governor, State of New Jersey—Booker

Thomas Nides, Vice Chairman, Morgan Stanley—Klobuchar

Mark Pincus, Founder, Zynga Inc.—Klobuchar

Steven Rattner, Chairman & CEO, Willett Advisors LLC—Hickenlooper

Susan Sarandon, Actor, Silly Goose Productions—Sanders

Eric Schmidt, Former chairman, Google—Booker

Dan Schulman, President & CEO, PayPal Holdings Inc.—Booker

Stacey Sher, Film/TV Producer, Self employed—Harris

Jay Snyder, Principal, HBJ Investments—Booker

Jay Snyder, Principal, HBJ Investments—O’Rourke

Jay Snyder, Principal, HBJ Investments—Gillibrand

Jerry Springer, Former TV host, NBC Universal—Harris

Alexander Stamos, Former chief security officer, Facebook, Inc.—Harris

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp Inc.—Warren

S. Donald Sussman, Founder, Paloma Partners—Booker

William Vrattos, Co-chief investment officer, York Capital Management—Gillibrand

Dana Walden, Chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment—Klobuchar

Emma Watts, Vice Chairman, Twentieth Century Fox Film—Harris

Boaz Weinstein, Chief Investment Officer, Saba Capital—Booker

Boaz Weinstein, Chief Investment Officer, Saba Capital—Gillibrand

Zygi Wilf, Owner, Minnesota Vikings—Klobuchar

Anna Wintour, Editor in chief, Vogue—O’Rourke

Reese Witherspoon, Actor, Self employed—Gillibrand