White House: DreamWorks Event Unrelated to Political Support

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has contributed millions to support Obama

Jeffrey Katzenberg, President Obama / AP
November 25, 2013

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday denied that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s financial support for President Barack Obama had any bearing on Obama’s decision to hold an event at the company’s headquarters on Tuesday.

"Contributing to the president’s campaign or being a political supporter of the president doesn’t guarantee you a presidential visit, but it shouldn’t exclude you from one either," Earnest said, according to a White House pool report.

Obama will stop at DreamWorks’ Glendale, Calif., headquarters during a swing through the state, where he will tout job creation efforts in the entertainment industry.

Katzenberg is one of the president’s most prolific fundraisers and public backers. He bundled more than $500,000 for each of Obama’s presidential campaigns. He gave $3 million to Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA Action in 2012.

He has donated more than $1 million to campaign arms of the Democratic Party since the 1990s, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and hundreds of thousands more to Democratic candidates.

That financial support, Earnest said, "has no bearing on our decision to visit there."

Obama will also attend a reception at the home of billionaire Haim Saban, who gave $1 million to pro-Obama Super PACs in 2012, and has given millions more directly to Democratic committees and candidates.

Obama tapped Saban’s wife for a U.S. diplomatic post last year.

The White House has vehemently denied charges that it sells access to the president to high-dollar campaign donors.

Organizing for Action, the activist group that emerged from his successful reelection campaign, has offered top donors the chance to discuss policy issues with key administration officials.

Earnest’s comments on Monday came as reports circulated that Obama would tap Tom Carnahan, another major Obama fundraiser, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Ireland.