Look Who's Talking — But Not Writing Checks
For many of Hollywood's most politically vocal stars, putting up cash to back up their words is just not in the script.
Lena Dunham, Madonna, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Portman, Stacey Dash, Robert DeNiro, Katy Perry, and Jon Voight.
In this election year, they have spoken out for their candidates; performed for them, sung of their virtues, and chastised their enemies. Some have caused their candidates embarrassment and overshadowed their campaigns of choice.
But this group has something else in common.
Collectively, they have contributed a grand total of zero dollars toward the 2012 presidential election.
Despite, by and large, sitting comfortably in the top 1% of the top 1% richest Americans, despite their outspoken support of their candidates, not a single dollar has come from the pockets of a single person on the list above toward either of this year’s candidates, their presidential campaign committees, or the national parties, according to the latest information available from the Federal Election Commission.
The pattern is not actually unusual for celebrity activists. Wooed by candidates and throughout their careers, many celebrities consider it service aplenty to donate their name to a cause or candidate, let alone put in an appearance. When attending fund-raisers, celebrities allow their names to be used on the invitations in order to entice other donors, but often then consider it an outrage when they are asked to write a check for their own seat.
Nonetheless, that so many so vocal supporters have held back on opening their wallets suggests that in Hollywood, the enthusiasm line for this year’s campaign falls somewhere between the mouth and the checkbook.
Some of the biggest mouths/smallest wallets:
At the age of 26, Lena Dunham, America’s most celebrated recent political virgin, appears to have never contributed money to a national campaign, a fact that did not change this year despite her controversial ad and her $3.5 million book deal.
The Material Girl was a major past contributor, donating $28,500 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee in 2008.
This year, eliciting boos from concertgoers for her campaign statements appears to be the limit of her activism, and the Obama campaign of 2012 is not living in Madonna's material world.
Clint Eastwood apparently felt his work was done after his "empty chair" speech. He has yet to write a check to the man he warmed up for. In 2008, he kicked in $2,300 to John McCain.
Bruce Springsteen has been a prodigious donor to Democratic campaigns in the past, but this time around, didn’t feel the need to reach for his wallet despite fronting at major Obama rallies.
Stacey Dash shocked some fans when she announced her support of Mitt Romney; her convictions have not extended to her pocketbook.
Back in March, Robert DeNiro’s joke at an Obama fund-raiser that America might not be ready for a white First Lady caused the campaign a cycle or two of annoyance. However, he does not seem to have written a check to attend that fund-raiser — or any other fund-raiser this year. The actor, who in the past wrote four-figure checks in support of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns as well as Obama’s 2008 general election effort, has limited his financial support this year to a $2,000 contribution to Senator Mark Udall.
Katy Perry has made fashion waves this cycle with her clingy Obama campaign dresses. But if she has opened up her wardrobe, she has yet to open her wallet for this campaign — or any other presidential campaign of recent years.
Jon Voight, 73, didn’t hold back while attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, at which he compared the president to Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. But while he contributed $8,000 to various McCain-related entities in 2008, he has yet to write a check to Mitt Romney this year.