Morgan Freeman has made a $1 million contribution to the pro-Obama SuperPAC Priorities USA Action, the type of high-profile donation supporters hope will lead to other giving if Democrats have hopes of achieving any kind of parity with the flood of money going to outside groups backing Republicans.
Freeman’s donation, which was made in June, will be included in the org’s report to the Federal Election Commission filed on Friday.
In a statement issued by Priorities, Freeman said that “Priorities USA is doing a great job of protecting the values I believe in. I am happy to help them and I hope others will do so as well.”
The SuperPAC was launched last year by two former White House aides, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, and drew initial support from Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave $2 million and, along with his political adviser Andy Spahn, has been helping them raise money within the entertainment community.
But Democratic-oriented SuperPACs have had trouble matching the contributions going to Republican-aligned groups, such as Restore Our Future and Crossroads GPS, in part because of opposition on the left to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and the perception that it has led to a flood of big money from individual donors into politics. David Geffen, for instance, has said that he “doesn’t contribute to (SuperPACs) or approve of them.”
But other donors who have decried Citizens United nevertheless say it doesn’t make sense to watch the other side create an uneven playing field, particularly when it comes to the fall campaign. Bill Maher expressed those sentiments when he gave $1 million to Priorities in February, and others who have given include Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath and Chelsea Handler.
After being courted for some time, Haim Saban, one of the most prolific donors to Democrats in the era when so-called “soft money” was legal, last month gave $1 million to a SuperPAC that will split the money evenly between Priorities and outside orgs supporting Democratic House and Senate candidates.
Burton said last week that Priorities will have raised a total of $6 million in June. Although that trails the sums raised by conservative groups, such as Restore Our Future, it reflects an improvement in their fund-raising from previous months.
“President Obama has done a remarkable job in terrible circumstances,” Freeman said in his statement. “He has ended combat operations in Iraq, put in place sensible reforms of Wall Street, save the auto industry and protected the health care of every American with a pre-existing condition. He has recognized the full equality of all our brothers and sistaers and placed impressive, accomplished woman on the Supreme Court. In return for this he is being targeted by hundreds of millions of dollars in special interest money. I for one am proud to lend my voice — and support — to those who defend him.”