What Does Jeffrey Katzenberg Want?

No get out of jail free card for Priorities USA donor

September 14, 2012

Priorities USA co-founder Bill Burton repeated Friday the big lie: that Democratic donors don’t ask for anything in return.

But the claim by the "money bunny" was quickly rebutted by MSNBC host Alex Wagner and the New York Times' Nick Confessore, who reported on and published a list of the top fundraisers for Obama’s campaign earlier this week:

BURTON: On the Democratic side you're giving – you know your taxes are going to go up if President Obama gets his way if you’re in the wealthiest 1 percent. For a lot of Democrats, like in the entertainment industry, for example, they give because they care about equality environment things like that. They're not selling more movie tickets because President Obama gets re-elected.

WAGNER: Let’s be fair: Everybody wants something, you know. I don't think it's fair to say that Republican donors, they're evil guys and get what they want from their evil president and Democrats--they don't want anything.

CONFESSORE: An example: On the documents we obtain the single biggest bundler for President Obama as of 2007 is Jeffrey Katzenberg. What does he want? He wants equality, he wants a lot of things. He also wants to build movie studios in China. He needs help from the administration to get that done. Everybody has interest at stake.

Left unmentioned, however, was the scope of Katzenberg’s interests and involvement.

Not only is the DreamWorks chief executive officer the leading fundraiser for Obama’s two campaigns (he has raised $6.6 million since 2007), he is also the single largest donor to the very Super PAC that Burton oversees.

Katzenberg has given $2.2 million to Priorities USA, the group best known for an ad that suggested Republican nominee Mitt Romney was responsible for a woman’s death from cancer.

The movie studio described by Confessore was announced in February, days after a White House meeting between President Obama and Chinese vice president Xi Jinping. The $2 billion deal with the Chinese government will allow the animation company to build a production studio in China.

Vice President Joe Biden was personally involved in arranging meetings for the deal, despite denials at the time of White House involvement.

The SEC later opened an investigation into accusations that Katzenberg bribed Chinese officials for the rights to produce and distribute films in China.

Katzenberg co-hosted a $15 million fundraiser for the president in May with actor George Clooney, where he was thanked personally by President Obama.