Deep Pockets, Big Influence: The Largest Celeb Donations To Politics This Year

Money, we all know, makes the world go ‘round. But it also makes politics go ‘round. In fact, politicians rely heavily on the donations of their supporters. These donations help pay for aides, for campaign materials, for travel expenses, and for the ad spots that leave us all reaching for our remotes.

While everyday people donate what they can to the politicians they believe in, celebrities often donate more: simply put, because they have more to donate. This makes them proverbial golden geese for presidential hopefuls. Still, not all celebrities write a six-figure check. Some donate less, while others donate into the millions.

To find out which twenty celebrities donated big so far this election cycle, give your time to the following list:

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

The man famous for “Phone Home” also phoned his bank, to the sum of $1,002,700 dollars. He donated a million dollars to Priorities USA Action, an organization that supports Hillary Clinton (their tagline: “We’re All In For Hillary Clinton”). He also donated personally to her, though at a much-reduced rate: $2,700 dollars. And he isn’t the only celebrity to donate the exact same amounts to these two entities.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio

Since his Titanic days, Leonardo DiCaprio has consistently used his celebrity status to showcase his staunch passion for environmental causes. So it comes as little surprise that he backs the left, the side that has accepted global warming as scientific fact. DiCaprio donated $2,700 directly to Hillary Clinton, the max amount allowed by law.

Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer

Fairly well known for his right-wing leanings, Kelsey Grammer seemed to waiver in choosing a candidate to support in 2016. Ultimately, the man who played a psychiatrist for twenty years chose to back two physicians. He donated $5,000 each to the campaigns of Rand Paul and Ben Carson. Neither went far – Paul pulled out in February 2016 after the Iowa caucus and Carson followed shortly after in March. He might no longer have a horse in the race, but Grammer isn’t the only celebrity cheering on the GOP.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry

Not only did Katy Perry donate $2,700 to Hillary Clinton, but she also took it one step further and offered her time and talent. She sang at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Her energizing performance probably gave Clinton a lift, but Perry also helped herself in the process: Her new single “Rise” took its name literally – it rose to number one on the Billboard charts.

Jeffrey Katzenberg

Jeffrey Katzenberg

Like Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg donated $1,002,700 to the campaign of the democratic candidate. He also broke it down in an identical manner: a million to Priorities USA Action, and $2,700 to Clinton. Katzenberg and Spielberg have long been friends – they both founded DreamWorks in 1994. Their identical donations may seem like a pricier version of two friends calling each other the night before to decide what to wear, but they’re more likely a reflection of the campaign laws previously mentioned.

Jerry Bruckheimer

Jerry Bruckheimer

The man behind “CSI” – and the million spin-offs that followed – donated $2,700 to Jeb Bush. Perhaps he, like many, thought that Bush was a shoo-in for the republican nom, given his family name. This wasn’t the case, however, and Bush was one of earliest candidates to cede defeat: he dropped out in February 2016 and threw his support behind Ted Cruz. Though few and far between, Bruckheimer isn’t the only candidate who backed Bush.

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres has to have a special place in her heart for Donald Trump; his hair alone is comic gold. Still, she supported the side most often synonymous with Hollywood: the left. She donated $2,700 to Hillary Clinton – she’s also been vocal about women’s and gay rights over the years. Clinton has even appeared on DeGeneres’s talk show, “Ellen.”

Chuck Lorre

Chuck Lorre

Chuck Lorre has his hand in many projects, but he’s arguably most famous for “Two and a Half Men.” He donated to Hillary Clinton with the standard gift of $2,700 dollars. Maybe it gives him and Charlie Sheen, a Donald Trump supporter, something else to fight about as they trade barbs over Twitter, arguing which presidential candidate is going to end up #winning.

Marlene Ricketts

Marlene Ricketts

Marlene Ricketts comes from the family that owns the Chicago Cubs. Because of this, it’s fitting that her donations read more like a box score. Overall, she donated $5 million. Most of this went to Scott Walker. The rest was divided up among Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. $5 million is a hefty offering, but it’s not even close to the top donation.

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt

Country singer Bonnie Raitt donated $2,700 to the Bernie Sanders campaign. She even signed a letter endorsing Sanders as a new vision for our country. Despite early enthusiasm, he couldn’t compete with Hillary Clinton and he finally dropped out. Perhaps he took heed of Raitt’s lyrics and realized that you can’t make them love you, if they don’t.

Kanye West

Kanye West

Depending on who you are, Kanye West is a talented rapper, an egomaniac, or Kim Kardashian’s husband. Either way, he backed Hillary Clinton, donating $2,700. He also revealed his own presidential aspirations when he claimed a few months back that he was running for office in 2020. Recently, he’s doubled down, sayings that he’s serious.

Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson

She might be the daughter of Goldie Hawn, but Kate Hudson’s made a name for herself outside of her family. She has starred in a whole slew of movies (as well as TV shows), while also founding her own clothing line — a collection of activewear. She donated to Hillary Clinton to the tune of $2,700 dollars.

Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane has never been one to back down from poking fun at everything and anything (see: “Family Guy”). Still, he’s serious about his politics. He not only donated $2,700 to Bernie Sanders, but he also introduced him at a rally in Los Angeles. MacFarlane has long been a supporter of liberal issues, particularly gay rights and marijuana legalization.

Robert Mercer

Robert Mercer

The Co-Chief Executive of Renaissance Technologies (a hedge fund management company), Robert Mercer donated $11.3 million to three of his favorite GOP candidates. Ted Cruz received the lion’s share, at 98 percent, while Bobby Jindal received just under 2 percent, and Carly Fiorina received less than 1 percent. Though his donation rivals the GDP of some countries, it’s still not the highest on this list.

Danny Devito

Danny Devito

Like others, Danny Devito also decided to split his donations up, rather than putting all of his eggs in one proverbial political basket. However, they still cracked – he gave Martin O’Malley $2,700 and Bernie Sanders $2,700. He’s been vocal about his issues with Hillary Clinton, so it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll do come November.

George Soros

George Soros

The Hungarian-American business mogul George Soros has a long history of donating to causes he sees fit – he’s given more than $11 billion over the years. Of course, he can afford it; he’s one of the thirty richest people in the world. He’s also backing Hillary Clinton. He donated $7 million to various aspects of her campaign.

Norman Braman

Norman Braman

Norman Braman is best known for being the former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. Nowadays, he’s an auto dealer — and probably a good one — his net worth is well into the billions. He’s been a huge supporter of Marco Rubio and donated $6 million to his campaign. He’s also previously employed Rubio’s wife at the Braman Family Charitable Foundation.

Farris Wilks

Farris Wilks

Farris Wilks is the founder of a hydraulic fracturing and oil field services company. In laymen terms, that means he’s rich. He donated $5.1 million to Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal (Cruz received the vast majority of this). His wife seems to agree politically, as she donated $5 million to Ted Cruz.

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams will likely be “Happy” if Hillary Clinton wins; he not only donated to her campaign, but he’s publicly endorsed her while on the talk show “Ellen.” Williams stated that he believes it’s time for a woman to be president, further saying that women deal with things in a more holistic way than their male counterparts.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The man who donated the largest on this list is one of the nominees: Donald Trump. He donated $12.7 million to the place everyone expected: his own campaign. While he doesn’t have a lot of the uber-wealthy backing him, at least not outside of closed doors, so far he hasn’t really needed it. He won the primary and, while Hillary Clinton is still projected to win the White House, this election has taught us one thing: you just never know. It should be noted that Trump only “loaned” the money to his campaign.