EXCLUSIVE: Bernie Sanders may have jetted out of NYC to give a speech at the Vatican today after last night’s Democratic debate, but the Vermont senator likely won’t see the benefits in this life or the next that rival Hillary Clinton is receiving in California this weekend – at least not in terms of hard cash. With Clinton out West on Friday, two sold-out fundraisers hosted by George Clooney and Amal Clooney for the former Secretary of State this weekend will pull in at least $15 million altogether, I’ve learned.
That’s the same amount the record-breaking event that the Oscar winner hosted for President Barack Obama back in 2012 achieved. As it stands, the very high-end 7 PM San Francisco and L.A. cocktails and dinner with Clinton tonight and tomorrow are the most successful fundraisers for any candidate this primary season so far.
“A lot of muscle went into making sure these were out-of-the-ballpark successes,” says an insider, who notes that invites went out to all the studio chiefs and top industry Dem donors. The actual guest list for the April 16 fundraiser — co-hosted by Jeffrey Katzenberg and wife Marilyn, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, and Haim Saban and wife Cheryl — is being treated like a state secret by the already usually very tight-lipped Clinton campaign and organizers.
Still, bundled together, the Clooney events, attended by roughly 100 people each, will easily surpass the $8 million the candidate raised in mid-December at a Hillary Victory Fund event where Sting performed at Manhattan’s St. Regis hotel. And in fact, I hear that once the final math is done on tonight’s event in SF and tomorrow’s in L.A., Clinton’s min-Cali tour could top the Obama re-election fundraiser that the then-unmarried Clooney hosted at his L.A. home nearly four years ago.
Back in 2012, tickets for the 150 person-attended POTUS event were around $40,000.
On the same weekend as Coachella, this year the top ticket is $353,400 for a couple of seats at the head table with HRC and the Clooneys at the SF shindig this evening at the home of Uber investor and big Obama bundler Shervin Pishevar. The Hollywood-heavy Hillary Victory Fund event on April 16 at the Money Monster star’s Studio City pad has a top price tag of $100,000 per couple.
Paying out that amount will get deep-pocketed supporters — almost all of whom have shelled out for Clinton on her previous eight visits to the Hollywood ATM — co-host status and a “host reception with the Clooneys and Hillary and preferred dinner seating. For the cheapskates, $33,400-per-person will get you “a photo with Hillary.”
If those numbers seem high under what is allowed under primary rules, they are – but they also are perfectly within what’s permitted. Like the Sting event and the Radio City Music Hall event of March 2, this weekend’s two Hillary Victory Fund affairs take only the allowed $2,700 per individual or $5,000 a couple directly for the Hillary for America ledger. The rest of the dough is divided up between the Democratic National Committee and state parties from Arkansas to Wyoming for the general election.
Contacted by Deadline, the Clinton campaign had no comment on the amount the SRO Clooney events raised. Seeking to grab an advantage in the April 19 NY Primary and having raised most of his money through much heralded small individual online donations of around $27, Sanders and his surrogates have had lots of comments as they’ve critically called out the Clinton/Clooney fundraisers in recent weeks. The Sanders campaign today sent out an email to supporters calling the price tag for seats at the SF event “an obscene amount of money.” The email encouraged their people power supporters to help raise $353,000 before midnight in “$50 increments.” Also, the Sanders campaign is running a TV ad in SF and LA asking people to contribute $27 – which is the average donation the campaign has received:
In another swipe at Team Clinton, pro-Bernie protesters already are popping up tonight in the streets of SF’s pricey Nob Hill neighborhood, where venture capitalist Pishevar’s home is. No word yet on how organized a similar L.A. protest might be for Saturday in the residential streets around the Clooney’s home, but expect a few concerned citizens at the very least, say law enforcement sources.
As for Sanders – he’ll be stateside and back on the trail in NY tomorrow and undoubtedly highlighting how Clinton is out of state and A-listing. Dumping a scheduled post-debate Good Morning America town hall appearance this AM, Clinton, who also has a non-Clooney fundraiser in L.A.’s Koreatown tomorrow afternoon, gave herself some pre-emptive cover by pressing the flesh in the Big Apple before flying out to the Golden State.
If you thought last night’s debate was competitive…https://t.co/mlNHhPRUI9
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 15, 2016