WASHINGTON -- The Democratic Party and Hollywood have a long history together, and former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is making the most of it. She has already received financial backing from celebrities big and small.
In May, Clinton swung through southern California to attend fundraisers hosted by entertainment industry producers Haim Saban and Steven Boccho. Those events were populated with a raft of celebrities who cut maximum $2,700 checks to the Democratic front-runner's campaign account. Actor Tobey Maguire later hosted Clinton for a fundraiser at his Los Angeles home in June.
Celebrity money did not just come from the West Coast, but also from New York. Clinton attended a fundraiser hosted by music producer L.A. Reid in May that made news when a photo of pop star Beyoncé Knowles with the candidate showed up online.
Contributions from celebrities aren't just fodder for entertainment. These donors work in industries that have very particular interests that a president (or any other politician) could influence.
Hollywood and the music industry were the primary supporters of anti-piracy legislation variously known as the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. These bills would have clamped down on online piracy of movies, music, television and many other files, but in an incredibly broad manner that brought intense opposition from Silicon Valley companies and open Internet activists. The bills stalled in Congress after a grassroots campaign against them combined with a blackout of some of the largest websites, including Facebook and Wikipedia.
Musicians have personally battled Silicon Valley on another front -- royalty payments from streaming services and online music stores. Music streaming sites like Spotify and Pandora pay artists infinitesimal amounts per stream and have cut deeply into the amounts artists can earn. This affects big-name acts like Taylor Swift, who famously pulled her music from Spotify and fought Apple for royalty payments from their streaming service and won, as well as smaller indie acts trying to make a living. The streaming sites and tech companies that own them have lobbied Congress to help them reduce royalty payments to artists.
Clinton donor Beyoncé and her husband, rapper and businessman Jay-Z, were among a list of music stars, including Madonna and Daft Punk, who launched a streaming service called Tidal to provide better royalty payments to artists.
Celebrities also use the free media they get to promote policy issues they want to see action on. Singer John Legend, who donated to Clinton's campaign, launched a campaign in April to support criminal justice reform and an end to the era of mass incarceration.
And then there are the policy priorities of the increasingly influential Hollywood executives and producers. Take Haim Saban, a $100,000-plus bundler to Clinton's campaign. The Israeli-American television producer is a major Israel booster and promotes the policies of the Middle Eastern country.
Recently, Saban has joined forces with right-wing casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson in an effort to stamp out a boycott, divestment and sanction campaign (known as BDS) seeking to use economic pressure to end Israel's occupation of and control over the 4.4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
After Saban hosted Clinton for a fundraiser at his home in May, the former secretary of state penned a letter to the billionaire Hollywood producer detailing her opposition to BDS.
Check out some of the celebrities who have donated to Hillary Clinton: