Re-Fact-Checking AP’s Top 5 Obama Fundraisers

Katzenberg (AP)
October 31, 2012

Once again, the media elites have inaccurately portrayed Democratic donors. Today, the Associated Press updated its story on Obama’s top donors and again dramatically underreported the amount of money that Obama’s "Top 5 fundraisers" have contributed.

In its previous version, the AP reported that Katzenberg had raised $2.566 million for Obama. In today’s iteration, Katzenberg has been downgraded to number three and the new total contribution to Obama is $3.07 million.

No. 3: Jeffrey Katzenberg, 61, Hollywood film producer and chief executive of DreamWorks Animation.

Total: $3.07 million

A reliable Democratic Party mega-donor in past years, Katzenberg has given $3 million to Priorities USA Action 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 soirees put him in proximity earlier this year to Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who signed off on an overseas deal benefiting Katzenberg’s studio.

DECEPTIVELY DECEPTIVE: In September, Katzenberg contributed an additional $1 million to Obama’s super PAC, Priorities USA. Instead of adding $1 million to its total, the AP chose to increase its figure by $500,000. Additionally, in today’s version of its list, the AP did not include the money that Katzenberg has raised for Obama as a bundler.

Even without this shifty number crunching and odd change in methodology, the Associated Press would still be under reporting Katzenberg’s true contribution to Obama’s reelection effort. 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 $5 million to Obama’s reelection effort, not $3.07 million as the AP reported. Someone’s pants are clearly on fire.

No. 1: Fred Eychaner, founder of Chicago-based alternative-newspaper publisher Newsweb Corp.

Total: $3.57 million

Eychaner has given $3.5 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC, the key pro-Obama committee that has aired millions of dollars’ worth of ads critical of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Eychaner has 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.

C’MON MAN! The Associated Press increased its total for Eychaner from $2.066 million to $3.57 million. But, as they did with Katzenberg, the AP subtracted the money it had previously credited to Eychaner as a top campaign bundler. Like Katzenberg, Eychaner contributed an additional $2 million to Priorities USA in September.

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 at least $1.2 million during the 2012 cycle. Eychaner’s total contributions to Obama for the cycle are closer to $4.76 million than $3.57 million.

SINS OF OMMISSION: Once again, the 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.

The Washington Free Beacon gives this story five Pinocchios. Again.