Clinton's Super PAC belies her small-donor campaign image

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 01, 2015 3:23 PM

By Alana Wise

(Reuters) - A Super PAC backing Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton raised $15.6 million in the first six months of the year, according to a report filed on Friday with the Federal Elections Committee.

The Priorities USA Action’s haul was dwarfed by the record-shattering $103 million raised by Republican Jeb Bush. Still, the large sums of money given by a fairly small group of donors stand in contrast to the small-donor image Clinton has sought to cultivate for her campaign.

That image holds true for the campaign leg of her fundraising efforts. The contributions page for her campaign boasts of 38,775 receipts, most in amounts of $100 or less.

The contributions page for her Super PAC, however, almost reads like a billing for a big-budget Hollywood movie. Dreamworks Animations CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg gave $1 million; director Steven Spielberg donated $1 million; Saban Entertainment CEO Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, each gave $1 million. Five more million-dollar donations are also recorded on the filing.

In fact, of the mere 42 transactions listed since the beginning of the year, only six in the filing were for $1,000 or less.

While it is not unusual for the super wealthy to donate huge sums of money to candidates of various party affiliations, Clinton, the former secretary of State and Democratic frontrunner, has been a major proponent of campaign finance reform, often warning about corporations’ influence on the electoral process. She has also notably pushed for a return to public financing of campaigns and complained about the ever increasing length American election cycles.

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Still, while Clinton has been vocal about her desire to reform the system of campaign financing, she has been careful to avoid specifically calling out big money itself as the issue, instead focusing on the source of donations.

“I want to ... fix our democracy by focusing on dark unaccountable money, which I think is corrupting our entire system,” Clinton said last month in Iowa.

(Reporting by Alana Wise; Editing by Leslie Adler)