Politics

The Cost to Have Dinner With Presidential Candidates Will Make You Lose Your Appetite

March 24th 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

The cost of having dinner with Hillary Clinton and George Clooney is making some people lose their appetites.

Next Sunday, the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee for Hillary for America, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic committees of 32 states and Puerto Rico, is hosting a Bay Area fundraiser where attendees can dine with Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and two-time "Sexiest Man Alive" George Clooney for a donation of $353,400, Politico reported.

The fundraiser, which is being held at the home of venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, is raising some eyebrows on social media.

While federal law limits the amount individuals can contribute to campaigns directly, joint fundraising committees allow donors to write larger checks like the ones that will be collected at the Bay Area fundraiser. NPR explains:

"Donors who are rich — and willing — can give $5,400 to the Clinton campaign, $33,400 to the Democratic National Committee and $10,000 to each of the state parties, about $360,000 in all. A joint fundraising committee lets the donor do it all with a single check."

You may also be wondering how a single individual can donate $353,400 to Clinton's campaign without violating campaign finance laws. It's because many of the donors are actually "bundlers," individuals who contribute to campaigns by encouraging other people to write checks. Essentially, the Clinton/Clooney event is like an exclusive dinner for prolific bundlers.

Though brushing shoulders with A-listers at the Clinton fundraiser is inarguably pricey, this type of dinner actually isn't unique, nor is the event the most expensive fundraiser this election cycle. Here are what other presidential hopefuls have charged for elite meet-and-greets.

1. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

Before Jeb Bush's ill fated primary run became all but synonymous with failure, it brought in major bucks. The Bush campaign raised $34.6 million, while super PACs and independent groups coughed up a staggering $124.2 million before Bush dropped out of the race in late February, the Washington Post reported.

Bush’s “Right to Rise” super PAC hawked $100,000 tickets to a Park Avenue event, according to a Feb. 10 Politico report.

2. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz also incentivized fundraising efforts with a private dinner offer, according to the New York Daily News. Cruz reportedly offered bundlers who raised $500,000 a dinner with the candidate and his wife, Heidi.

ted-cruz

3. President Barack Obama

The 2012 campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama also held its fair share of exclusive events, according to Business Insider. Director Spike Lee hosted one such event at his New York brownstone apartment, and charged $35,800 per guest.

barack-obama

In Los Angeles, a two-part event including a Foo Fighters concert and dinner with George Clooney raised around $3 million, Business Insider reported, while dinner tickets went for $35,800 a plate.

4. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders

Campaign finance reform has been a major theme of Bernie Sanders' political platform. At 2015's the first Democratic debate, Sanders announced that he was “not raising money from millionaires and billionaires," a statement he has repeated throughout his primary run, along with stressing his lack of super PACs and criticizing Clinton for taking large speaking fees at corporate events.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on Wall Street

But Sanders also held a high priced Hollywood fundraiser in October, according to the New York Times. While tickets began at $250, donors who contributed the maximum $2700 donation or raised $10,000 were invited to a "pre-event reception," the Times reported.