Fact-Checking AP’s Top 5 Obama Fundraisers

AP Images
October 19, 2012

Throughout the 2012 cycle, the media has made a concerted effort to frame the difference between liberal donors and conservative ones. Once again, the media elites have inaccurately portrayed Democrat donors. This time, the Associated Press dramatically under-reported the amount of money that Obama’s "Top 5 fundraisers" have contributed. For example:

No. 1: Jeffrey Katzenberg, 61, Hollywood film producer and chief executive of DreamWorks Animation.

Total: $2.566 million

Katzenberg is President Barack Obama's top donor when tallying his contributions to a "super" political committee, money to Obama's campaign and the money he arranged for others to write for the president. The biggest contributions include $2 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC. It was founded by former White House advisers and is the key pro-Obama PAC this election cycle. Katzenberg has helped "bundle" more than $500,000 for the president's second term, making him among the campaign's top volunteer fundraisers. He's also given more than $66,000 to Obama's campaign and the Democratic Party. The Hollywood icon has been invited to White House events, including a state dinner. Such high-profile soirées put him in proximity earlier this year to Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who signed off on an overseas deal benefiting Katzenberg's studio.

PANTS ON FIRE: It is true that Katzenberg is listed on Obama’s website as a bundler committed to raising more than $500,000 for the campaign. This number is a minimum, however. According to a New York Times report, Katzenberg bundled more than $2 million through May 2012. The Center For Responsive Politics attributes more than $2.3 million to Katzenberg. In reality, Katzenberg has contributed more than $4 million to Obama’s reelection effort, not $2.566 as the AP reported.

No. 3 (tie): Fred Eychaner, founder of Chicago-based alternative-newspaper publisher Newsweb Corp.

Total: $2.066 million

Eychaner has given $1.5 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC. He's also given more than $60,000 to the president's re-election committees, and he's listed as a major "bundler" for Obama, having raised at least $500,000 for the president. Eychaner, a gay-rights activist, also has donated millions to other nonprofit groups, including more than $1 million to the progressive EMILY's List organization. He's visited the White House several times since early 2009, according to records, and Obama appointed Eychaner to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. During the 2008 election cycle, Newsweb spent more than $1.7 million on Illinois elections and about $200,000 on the federal level, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

NOT EVEN CLOSE: Again, Eychaner is listed as a $500,000 plus bundler for the Obama campaign. According to other sources, Eychaner bundled more than $785,000 through May and more than $1.2 million during the 2012 cycle. Eychaner’s total contributions to Obama for the cycle are closer to $2.76 million than $2.066 million.

SINS OF OMMISSION: AP failed to include Andrew Tobias, Azita Raji, and Michael Kempner in their list of top Obama fundraisers. Through May 2012, they bundled more than $4.08 million, $3.15 million, and $3.09 million respectively.

Washington Free Beacon gives this story five Pinocchios.