Hillary Clinton expected to raise millions from Clooney's star-studded fundraiser dinner
George and Amal Clooney held a fundraiser event for US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Saturday. (AFP)
Celebrities and politicians love to mix and mingle, and at election campaign time that means fundraisers. Hillary Clinton supporter George Clooney threw the candidate a party on Saturday at one of the glitziest - and perhaps most lucrative - events so far.
Four years ago, he held a star summit at his villa in Los Angeles for the re-election of US President Barack Obama. Prominent guests, including Barbra Streisand, Robert Downey Jr, Salma Hayek and Tobey Maguire paid 40,000 dollars each for the privilege of attending and dining with the president. Altogether he drummed up 15 million for the guest of honour.
Now it's Hillary Clinton's turn. The 54-year-old Clooney and Amal, the human rights attorney he married last year, are hosting a party for the Democratic presidential candidate in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
It comes after an event on Friday in San Francisco raised money for the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee for Clinton's campaign and to benefit fellow Democrats. Individuals contributed 33,400 dollars, while couples contributed or raised 353,400, according to US news media, citing the invitation.
Clooney's fundraiser is a gala dinner organized by movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and Oscar winner Steven Spielberg. Clooney joked in the invitation: "The good news is, I'm not cooking."
In all the "clutter" of the current race, "there's been one consistent voice," he wrote in an email explaining his support. "A voice of tolerance and experience, from a candidate who's spent a lifetime fighting for the rights of the less fortunate. A candidate who knows firsthand the complexity of our international relationships. That candidate is Hillary Clinton."
Clinton supporters who participated in a raffle by making a small donation had the chance of winning not just a seat at the gala, but also their flight, hotel and meals. This brought in millions of dollars to the Democrat's campaign.
Clinton has long had high-profile and wealthy actors at her side, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Ben Affleck, Richard Gere, Julianne Moore and Drew Barrymore. A host of musicians support her, too, including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Sting and Pharrell Williams, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Her rival for the Democratic Party's nominee for president, Bernie Sanders, also has a considerable list of celebrity supporters: Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt, Spike Lee and R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe.
But he says his events with stars usually cost between 15 and 50 dollars, and has criticized the former secretary of state fiercely for taking millions from rich celebrity friends.
While Sanders said he had a lot of respect for Clooney, in an interview with CNN he said the star's fundraising proved his point about politicians being up for sale.
As for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, he has to be content with a B-list that includes world boxing champion Mike Tyson, wrestler Hulk Hogan and Gene Simmons, bass player for the rock band Kiss.
Actor Stephen Baldwin, the youngest of the Baldwin brothers, is one supporter and sees Trump as a friend who is "pretty smart," the 49-year-old told Newsweek.
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Baldwin became a born-again Christian who makes the case for conservative values.
Trump also has the support of Oscar-winner Jon Voight, father of Angelina Jolie, who told the Breitbart News Network that Trump was "honest," the only candidate who could rebuild the country and "the answer to our problems."
Top stars have stayed well away from the Trump campaign so far however.
His xenophobic comments about Latinos, for example, have earned him sharp criticism from singers Shakira and Ricky Martin and the Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek. Rock band R.E.M. and singer Neil Young are so repulsed they have forbidden him using their songs on the campaign trail.
Not that this will bother the property mogul and reality TV star much: everyone knows the billionaire doesn't need the A-listers' money.
By Barbara Munker and Gretel Johnston
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