Celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Eva Longoria and Jim Parsons were among those at a fundraiser hosted by Jeffrey Katzenberg and featuring Hillary Clinton as the top billing, raising a blockbuster amount for the waning weeks of the midterms.
The intent was to give Democratic Senate candidates and infusion of cash with retaining the majority in doubt, and the event did: An estimated $2.1 million was raised, according to a source close to the organizers of the event.
The $32,400-per-person event was closed to the press, and its hefty price tag kept the event smaller (about 60 people) and made up of top donors, who attended at the Brentwood eatery Tavern. Led by host Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn, co-chairs were Casey and Laura Wasserman, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Alan and Cindy Horn, Michael and Jolene Rapino, Andy Spahn and Jennifer Perry, and venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar. Spielberg and Alan Horn could not attend, but others there included CAA’s Richard Lovett and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is chairing this cycle’s Democratic reelection efforts, announced the amount in remarks to the crowd, the figure being a record fund-raising evening this cycle for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Katzenberg introduced Clinton, noting her drawing power, and she spoke of the urgency of retaining a majority as well as the importance of getting out the vote, according to the source. A challenge has been getting weary donors to write checks this cycle, and Clinton’s presence was undoubtedly the draw as kind of a prelude to a possible presidential run in 2016.
This was the first event in which a post-Secretary of State Clinton had trekked to Los Angeles in campaign mode, albeit for the midterms. She has previously been in Los Angeles to attend charity functions and accept awards, as well as on her book tour, and her presence each time drew the same questions of whether she would or would not run.
The idea that Clinton will mount another bid for the presidency was not lost on about a dozen protesters who gathered across the street from Tavern, blocked from getting any closer by LAPD officers. “Hey, Hillary, you can’t hide, we can see your corporate side,” one woman yelled through a megaphone as guests arrived. Their protest was of a number of issues, including Clinton’s past support from major Wall Street firms and other corporations, as well as the perils of fracking.
The event was organized by Gonring, Spahn & Associates.