Roughly 6,165 people involved in showbusiness and professional sports rallied behind the former vice president by donating to Biden’s presidential campaign and pro-Biden political action committees, according to campaign finance data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics exclusively for Fox News.
In comparison, roughly 525 people in the entertainment world donated money to help reelect President Trump, the donor data through Oct. 14 shows.
While Trump, the former reality TV star, had far fewer celebrity backers for his reelection effort, he matched Biden’s celebrity donor total of about $13 million thanks to one wealthy entertainment leader.
Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel Entertainment that produces action-hero movies, gave a pro-Trump super PAC $10.5 million in September to help boost Trump’s efforts to win a second term. Perlmutter, a billionaire Israeli-American executive, lists Palm Beach County in Florida as his address and has wielded influence with Trump as a pal and member of the president’s Mar-a-Lago club, according to ProPublica. Perlmutter donated to the pro-Trump America First Action group.
In total, data obtained by Fox News tracked $26.3 million in donations from nearly 6,700 individuals who listed an occupation related to show business or professional sports who gave to Trump or Biden’s presidential campaign or other groups supporting them.
By far, the largest pro-Biden and pro-Trump fundraising committees are the candidates’ campaigns themselves, but they are supported by outside groups that have fewer restrictions on donation limits.
The main pro-Biden groups tracked in the data include Priorities USA Action, Future Forward USA, American Bridge 21st Century, Unite the Country and Independence USA PAC. The biggest pro-Trump outside groups tracked in the data are America First Action, Preserve America PAC, Committee to Defend the President and Great America PAC.
If you take away the high-dollar super PAC checks, Biden has raised just under $8 million from celebrities and Trump only $660,000. Contributions directly to Biden and Trump’s campaigns are capped at a max of $5,600 per individual, whereas super PACs can raise unlimited funds from individuals.
The research was compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics by searching Biden and Trump donations by occupations related to Hollywood, entertainment and professional athletes — such as actors, actresses, producers, directors and more. The imperfect donor list includes lesser-known actors and people working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry and may have omitted some big-name stars depending on how they listed their profession on campaign finance forms.
But the data provides a concrete look into how celebrities are favoring the presidential candidates. Beyond a bevy of Hollywood actors and celebrity A-listers posting their support for Biden on social media, there is a broad effort among the entertainment community to put their money where their mouth is. Trump has far fewer donors in show business, but thanks to the checks of a few well-off individuals to super PACs, Trump is holding his own with celebrity cash.
Perlmutter is by far the most generous individual donor from the entertainment industry from either the GOP or Democratic side. Another big-name Trump donor is Woody Johnson, the billionaire co-owner of the New York Jets NFL football team who Trump appointed as ambassador to the United Kingdom. Johnson donated $1 million to the America First Action super PAC in May, records show.
Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and public supporter of Trump, also gave $1 million to America First Action.
Trump hasn’t garnered much support from Hollywood, but he has a few professional athletes, NFL owners and entertainers in his corner.
NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Edward Glazer and Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown each donated $5,600 to Trump. Mike Priefer, the special teams coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, also pitched in $500.
Athletes who donated money to help Trump’s reelection include Derek Holland, a professional baseball free agent who most recently pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates; Richie Incognito, an offensive guard for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, Bryan Bulaga, an offensive tackle for the Los Angeles Chargers; and Zack Cozart, who played for the Los Angeles Angels.
Actor Randy Quaid pitched in $750 for Trump, former General Hospital star Chad Brannon donated $2,100 and Jay Demarcus, of the country group Rascal Flatts, donated $500 to Trump in June, records show.
But Biden, by far, was buoyed by many more donors thanks to liberal Hollywood backers. He netted about 92 percent of the nearly 6,700 donors related to the show business, sports and entertainment industries.
The largest Democratic donations for Biden came from famed filmmaker Steven Spielberg and his wife, retired actress Kate Capshaw, who together gave more than $2.5 million to three super PACs supporting Biden and directly to his campaign. Their money was largely spent on three pro-Biden outside groups Pacronym ($1 million combined from the couple), Priorities USA Action ($1 million) and American Bridge 21st Century ($500,000).
The next biggest celebrity donor was “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane who gave $700,000 to pro-Biden Priorities USA Action.
New York theater producer Edward “Ted” Snowdon donated more than $255,000 to American Bridge 21st Century and to the Biden campaign and Los Angeles TV producer Marcy Carsey donated more than $200,000 to the same groups. Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of Dreamworks Animation, donated $200,000 that was split between two anti-Trump groups.
“Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman donated $130,000 for pro-Biden efforts and businessman and film producer Sidney Kimmel gave more than $100,000. Tom Werner, Boston Red Sox chairman and TV producer, donated nearly $80,000.
Also supporting Biden from the sports world were Arn Tellem, vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons, who gave more than $18,000; Christina Weiss Lurie, film producer and part owner of NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, who gave $15,600. Larry Lucchino, former president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, gave $12,800. Other Biden donors include Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, sportscaster Suzyn Waldman, NBA Coach Stan Van Gundy, Pittsburgh Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse, Chicago Bears football player Bobby Massie and baseball manager Rocco Baldelli, records show.
Dozens of celebrities rallied behind Biden for his White House bid and gave thousands of dollars to help him. Among the biggest donors are moviemaker Rob Reiner ($15,600), musician John Legend ($14,200), actress Rene Russo $11,167), filmmaker Judd Apatow ($10,000), actor Edward Norton ($8,400) and author and TV host Padma Lakshmi ($8,000).
Among the other actors and actresses who gave at least $5,600 were Alyssa Milano, Annette Bening, Rita Wilson, George Clooney, Mindy Kaling, Kathy Bates, Drew Carey, Sarah Paulson, Ed Helms, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Garner and Bette Midler. Others who donated at least $5,600 for Biden were producer and director Ryan Murphy, TV creator Shonda Rhimes, singer Barbra Streisand and filmmaker Tyler Perry.
Celebrities who pitched in somewhere between $5,500 and $2,800 included actors Lily Tomlin, Shia LaBeouf, Laurie Metcalf, Sam Waterston, George Takei; Dustin Hoffman, Debra Messing, Kate Hudson, Taraji Henson, Lucy Liu, Kyra Sedgwick, Sterling Brown, Ben Stiller, Candice Bergen, comedian Wanda Sykes and filmmaker Patty Jenkins.
Biden 2020 donors also included TV hosts Dave Letterman, Jerry Springer and chef Rachael Ray. A “James Kimmel” from California who listed ABC as his employer and his job as broadcaster donated $3,800 to Biden this year, too. A rep for late-night host Jimmy Kimmel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other celebrities to gave at least $1,000 to support Biden include Sally Field, Mark Ruffalo, Val Kilmer, Helen Hunt, Glenn Close, comedian Phoebe Robinson, Josh Gad, Steve Buscemi, Tom Hanks, comedian Amy Schumer, Sharon Stone, Meredith Baxter, Edie Falco, Allison Janney, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Affleck and Jane Fonda.
Some studio and talent executives also wrote checks for Biden. His well-connected backers include Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige; Alan F. Horn, co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios; MGM film group chairman Michael De Luca; Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, and Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, records show.
The high-profile endorsements and campaign cash are still just a drop in the bucket to the massive 2020 spending effort. The Center for Responsive Politics projects the total cost of the 2020 election will nearly hit an unprecedented $14 billion, making it the most expensive election in history and twice as expensive as the previous presidential election cycle.
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