Katzenberg Emerges as Hillary Clinton's New Money Man

Image: Katzenberg Emerges as Hillary Clinton's New Money Man

Monday, 10 Feb 2014 12:15 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is positioning himself to lead the drive for big money for Hillary Clinton's possible 2016 presidential bid, building on a highly successful track record as an influential Democratic bundler.

The 63-year-old CEO of DreamWorks Animation had a private meeting with the former secretary of state last spring, according to Buzzfeed, rekindling a relationship dating back to the days of the first Clinton White House which had been interrupted in 2007 when he backed Barack Obama for president.

"He's going to do what he has to do to get back to being a principal player with Hillary," one longtime Los Angeles-based strategist told Buzzfeed, adding that Katzenberg would need to "do more" than others if he wants to "be back in that orbit."

Katzenberg is notable not only for his large personal donations but also for his hands-on approach to tapping his personal and professional network for big money. His leadership on an early fundraising event for Obama raised $1.3 million, and he played a central role in building the Democratic Party's largest super PAC, Priorities USA Action.

Katzenberg's influence is already evident in Kentucky's highly contested Senate race, where Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes is trying to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Last year, he raised $1 million from his Hollywood friends on her behalf, and in January he co-hosted a California fundraiser for the Grimes campaign.

Though Katzenberg's fundraising record has brought him direct access to the president and vice president, people close to Katzenberg told Buzzfeed that his political involvement is motivated by his support of a broad array of progressive issues and not by personal gain.
"It's not power for power's sake," said one California fundraiser, according to Buzzfeed. "He just likes being that guy."

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