Maher’s donation follows comments he made on his HBO talk show “Real Time” in June in which he warned of Democrats being vastly outspent by rich Republican donors. He even called out tech titans like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates for giving scant contributions in 2016.
Maher’s contribution mirrors a $1 million donation he made in 2012 to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing President Barack Obama’s reelection. Back then, Maher also warned of the number of well-heeled billionaires pouring money into Mitt Romney’s campaign.
“We sincerely thank Bill Maher for his generous donation,” J.B. Poersch, president of the Senate Majority PAC, said in a statement. “Maher’s attention to our efforts this cycle underscores the building momentum and excitement for Democratic Senate candidates that we continue to see across the country. Every donation we receive is critical to help us ensure victory come Election Day.”
Schumer said in a statement, “I’m very appreciative of Bill’s generosity and urge all Americans to do everything they can to take back the Senate and restore our democracy.”
Other entertainment figures who have given to the PAC include Seth MacFarlane, who made a $2 million donation in April; Haim Saban, who contributed $1 million in March; Netflix’s Reed Hastings, who gave $500,000 in May; and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who donated $250,000 in June.
Maher’s spokeswoman said he was unavailable for comment. A person familiar with how Maher’s contribution came together said he wanted to inspire others to give this cycle.
On HBO’s “Real Time” in June, Maher said, while a figure like Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $80 million to help Democrats this cycle, “the Koch brothers are going to give $400 million.”
“Where are the billionaire liberals? Because Sheldon Adelson and that crowd, they give in the tens and hundreds of billions. The Koch brothers.”
“Here’s our side: Bill Gates, worth $91 billion. Jeff Bezos, worth $141 billion. [Mark] Zuckerberg, who should feel guilty for helping Russia slide Trump into the White House, he’s worth $73 billion. Their contributions in 2016 were under a million.”
He even called them “cheap f—s.”
“The game is being played on the million-dollar level. It won’t do when you are worth $141 billion to write a check for $250,000,” he said.