McCaskill’s Hollywood Hosts Maxed Out to Clinton’s Lewinsky Legal Defense Fund

McCaskill on Clinton in 2006: 'He's been a great leader, but I don't want my daughter near him'

Claire McCaskill
Claire McCaskill / Getty Images

Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill's two Hollywood fundraiser hosts both joined Harvey Weinstein as maxed out donors to the legal defense fund for former President Bill Clinton as he was battling accusations of lying about his sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

It was reported late Tuesday night that McCaskill would be hosted by Hollywood heavyweights Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg for a fundraiser headlined by former President Barack Obama. Both Katzenberg and Spielberg were among the 63 donors who in 1998 stepped up to defend Clinton with the maximum allowed $10,000 contribution to his legal defense fund, according to a Washington Post report.

Their support for McCaskill is no surprise as both have contributed millions to liberal candidates and causes over the years.

Katzenberg has been a donor to McCaskill since her first Senate run in 2006 and has, together with his wife Marilyn, contributed nearly $50,000 to her since, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Spielberg and his wife Kate also began donating to McCaskill in 2006 and have contributed over $30,000.

McCaskill was not yet on the national political stage when the Clinton scandal first emerged. When she was asked about him during her first run she said she thought he was a "great leader" but also, "I don't want my daughter near him."

Although they are also major Democratic donors, neither Katzenberg nor Spielberg were closely tied to Weinstein and both were able to emerge unscathed from the #MeToo movement sparked by allegations against him.

Katzenberg was criticized by actress Molly Ringwald for reportedly saying, "I wouldn't know [Molly Ringwald] if she sat on my face," but he denies ever making the comment.

Either way, the Hollywood fundraiser plays right into the hands of Republican Josh Hawley, McCaskill's likely November opponent, who has portrayed her as an "eager ally" of the coastal elites.

Hawley has also long blamed Hollywood for promoting a culture that exploits women.

"It became commonplace in our culture among our cultural elites, Hollywood, and the media, to talk about, to denigrate the biblical truth about husband and wife, man and woman," Hawley said in a speech earlier this year.

After Hawley's comments were criticized by McCaskill, he recommended that she "fly commercial home from [her] next Hollywood fundraiser and ask people what Hollywood is doing to our culture."

Hawley also has asked McCaskill to return money raised for her campaign by former senator Al Franken (D., Minn.), who resigned late last year after a string of groping allegations.

Franken had been in Missouri just weeks before the initial allegation of sexual misconduct to headline a fundraising dinner for the Missouri Democratic Party. He was introduced by McCaskill and praised for his ability to "shine the brightest light on wrongdoing and malfeasance."

McCaskill's campaign has not commented on the Hollywood fundraiser. It did not respond to requests for comment.