The entertainment industry has contributed at least $6 million to the 2008 presidential campaigns in the first nine months of this year – and $5 million of that sum went to Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
The high-profile Hollywood figures who have donated to the Clinton campaign include Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Rob Reiner, and Renee Zellweger. Obama’s supporters include Tom Hanks, Ben Stiller, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, and Streisand, according to a Los Angeles Times review of campaign finance reports.
Some Tinseltown glitterati have also hosted major fundraisers for candidates. Oprah Winfrey held one for Obama at her California estate, and Steven Spielberg co-hosted a gala for Clinton.
But many Hollywood contributions come from lower-profile media company executives – and the executives’ impact is considerable.
The entertainment industry – companies that produce movies, television and music – spent $100 million on lobbying from January 2006 through June of this year, the Times reports.
General Electric Co., which owns NBC Universal, has spent more than $160 million on lobbying in the past 10 years, much of it to influence policy on product piracy and copyright protection.
This year, GE and NBC executives and employees have donated $180,000 to presidential candidates, both Democrats and Republicans.
“If you don’t contribute, it is very hard to get your views” heard by Washington politicians, Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Assn., told the Times. “It is not pay to buy a vote … It is pay to have access in the process.”
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