For celebrities, $5,000 may seem like chump change. But for political candidates, each dollar may mean the difference between a 30 second television ad at 4 am and a 60 second ad at 6 pm. In other words, fundraising can determine whether or not a candidate even has a shot at winning an election.
Luckily for many democratic candidates in the 2014 midterm elections, a lot of Hollywood’s blood runs blue, equating to more green in the left-leaning candidates’ campaign coffers.
The Federal Election Commission limits campaign contributions for each candidate to $2,600 per individual or $5,200 per couple per election cycle. That didn’t stop Hollywood celebrities from maxing out their contributions and getting creative by donating to democratic PACs and campaign committees. Here are 25 stars who donated money to democrats in the 2014 midterm elections.
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Oprah publicly supported Lavern Chatman’s congressional campaign at a fundraiser in Virginia earlier in the year. The fundraiser’s theme was “empowering women and girls through leadership.” The Queen of Television showed up with longtime partner Stedman Graham.
Brad Pitt donated $5,000 to the campaign of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs (Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ widow) gave $500,00 to Senate Majority PAC, which seeks to defend the Democrats’ 55-45 Senate majority.
Samuel l. Jackson and Denzel Washington
Samuel l. Jackson and Denzel Washington contributed to the campaign of Michelle Nunn, daughter of Sam Nunn who was a longtime Democrat senator from Georgia.
The producer not only donated to several individual campaigns, including: Franken, Booker, Grimes, Udall, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Begich and Greuel; but he also contributed $20,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $10,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Despite being a huge fundraising force for Barack Obama’s past presidential campaigns, the Vogue editor-in-chief was more reserved in her political activity this election cycle, giving $2,500 to Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) and $5,000 to the Democratic National Committee.
The Arkansas-born actress gave $2,500 to Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). Steenburgen was born in Arkansas, where she grew up with Bill Clinton.
Director Steven Spielberg has donated $250,000 to the Senate Majority PAC, which is run by Harry Reid’s political advisers and also donated $5,200 to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); $2,600 to Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC); $2,600 to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR); $5,200 to Alison Grimes (D-KY); $2,600 to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA); $5,200 to Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA); $2,600 to Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO); $2,600 to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL); $10,400 to Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) and $2,600 to Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). He also maxed out his contribution to a national party committee this calendar year with a $32,400 donation to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck hosted a fundraiser for Sen. Cory Booker, the New Jersey Democrat, who has been a high profile player in the Democratic party since the October 2013 special election.
Either the West Coast has a strong dislike for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or Alison Grimes has some great policy initiatives, because DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Woody Allen, Danny DeVito, Ted Danson and America Ferrera were just a few of a long list of Hollywood celebrities who donated heavily to Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’s campaign.
Designer Tim Gunn, of “Project Runway” fame, was born and raised in D.C. This cycle, he maxed out his contribution to Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and also hosted a special “Mothers and Daughters” tea in honor of the senator? He co-hosted the night with lobbyist Liz Robbins, who worked with him in the past on intellectual property rights for fashion designers. In the past, they have both been on Capitol Hill, discussing this issue with lawmakers.
Louis-Dreyfus may be known as Veep on HBO, but in the real-life USA, she was a top donor to Rep. Lois Capps’s (D-Calif.) campaign with a donation of $2,600. Her husband, William Bradley Hall, also gave $2,600.
The Office’s Rainn Wilson was one of several celebrities to hand out money to author Marianne Williamson’s failed California House bid, but it was to no avail. Williamson came in fourth in the June primary.
Numerous “Saturday Night Live” alumni donated to former fellow “SNL” cast member Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) reelection campaign.
Gwyneth Paltrow gave $1,500 to Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.).
Alison Grimes massive campaign coffer can be attributed to several A-List celebrities including Cameron Diaz, who maxed out her donation to the candidate’s campaign against Mitch McConnell.
The movie director has been a big Democratic donor over the years. This year, he opted to throw his cash towards two big name Democrats: Kentucky contender Alison Grimes and Minnesota Senator Al Franken.
The outspoken Hollywood actor apparently isn’t a fan of the Senate Minority Leader. Cage contributed $5,200 to Alison Grimes’ campaign against McConnell.
The “West Wing” actor contributed to Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) reelection campaign. By election day, Franken’s campaign has raised nearly $30 million in funds over the years.
Tom Hanks donated to Wendy Davis’ gubernatorial bid against Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (Rep).
Who knew comedians took politics seriously? Chris Rock, Jack Black and Jerry Seinfeld all contributed to Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign against Sen. Mitch McConnell.
“West Wing” writer Aaron Sorkin, Leonard Nimoy and Ben Stiller all contributed to the campaign of Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who ended up raising $17 million in campaign funds, yet still lost to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Eva Longoria decided to throw her weight behind Texas Democratic candidate for lietenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte, as well as Democratic District Attorney candidate Nico Lahood.
Steve Martin donated $5,200 to former comedian, Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) reelection campaign.
The longtime Democratic donor helped fund several competitive races, including the campaigns of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Democratic Senators Mark Udall (Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Jeff Merkley, (Ore.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kentucky Senate candidate Allison Lundergan Grimes. The singer also donated $10,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.