President Obama will attend a star-studded fundraising gala in New York City on Mar. 1, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
The Obama Victory Fund 2012 will host the event at ABC Carpet & Home in Manhattan’s upscale Flatiron District, according to the official online invitation. Special guests are expected to include hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, New Age self-help guru Deepak Chopra, and culinary bigwig Jean-Georges Vongerichten, among others.
Prospective partygoers can choose from three levels of tickets, “Event Chair” ($35,800), “Event Host” ($10,000), or for those with shallower pockets, “Gala Attendee” ($1,000 a piece).
Their massive wealth notwithstanding, Simmons and Chopra were both vocal supporters of the “Occupy” movements, and were named to TheBlaze.com’s list of the “Top Ten Richest Celebrities Supporting ‘Occupy Wall Street.’”
Simmons (number two on the list) is worth an estimated $325 million, while Chopra (number four) has, thanks to an array of bestselling books and a popular offering of high-priced “healing” seminars, amassed of fortune worth approximately $80 million, placing both men firmly in the much-maligned “1 percent” of ultra-wealthy Americans who Occupiers allege are gaming the federal government and not paying their fair share in taxes.
Both Simmons and Chopra have a history of political activism, tending towards very liberal positions on a host of issues and an outspoken disdain for conservatives. Simmons once said of Sean Hannity that rapper Snoop Dogg, author of hits such as “Gin and Juice” and “Drop it Like it’s Hot,” was “less racist, less sexist, less homophobic, and less gangsta” than the Fox News host. Simmons exhibited his counter-cultural bona fides recently in an interview on CNN by defending the actions of Super Bowl performer M.I.A., who flashed her middle finger at the camera during the half-time show.
“It’s a youth culture idea, just the idea of the whole system, to say, you know, young people, that's what they live for,” he said. “So maybe it's something she's done in other performances and it was natural.”
Chopra, a frequent Huffington Post contributor, once described President Ronald Reagan as someone “whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in.” Of conservatives in general, he recently wrote: “It's tragic that the very word ‘values’ has been coopted by the most intolerant sector of society.”
Neither men have been particularly generous when it comes to personal campaign contributions. Simmons has given roughly $15,000 to Democratic candidates and committees, while Chopra has given about $7,000.
However, with the Obama administration’s newfound embrace of anonymously funded Super PACs, they should have ample opportunity to put their money where their mouth is — beginning, perhaps, on Mar. 1.