Celebrities bury 2016 candidates in cash, with some surprise donations

Talk show host Andy Cohen (Photo by Digitas Photos via Creative Commons) and actresses Debra Messing (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP), Marlo Thomas (AP photo) and Julianne Moore (Photo by Gordon Correll via Wikimedia Commons) each donated $2,700 to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – Celebrities are increasingly vocal in the political process, with movie stars like Rosario Dawson, a strident Bernie Sanders supporter, publicly roasting Hillary Clinton for facing an FBI probe over her private email server.

Another form of speech, cold hard cash, proves just how much celebs believe in their 2016 favorites.

PDF: Celebrities who donated to 2016 presidential campaigns
PDF: Celebrities who donated to 2016 presidential campaigns

Those donations bring in “blockbuster attention,” according to The Hill‘s “In The Know” columnist Judy Kurtz. “For a lot of these campaigns, it’s not just about the money that they’re getting from celebrities … it’s really important for these campaigns to up the cool factor of their candidate a little bit.”

We pored through the public campaign financial filings of candidates with the Federal Elections Commission in California and New York, searching for household names giving big money to presidential contenders.

As the FEC explains, stars can legally fork over $2,700 “per election to a Federal candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee. Notice that the limit applies separately to each election. Primaries, runoffs and general elections are considered separate elections.”

Democratic dollars pour in

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner and longtime friend to Hollywood power players, banked a huge majority of Tinseltown’s A-list cash flow from actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

The former secretary of state also got a boost from Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and tabloid staple Countess Luann de Lesseps of Bavo’s Real House Housewives of New York City.

Most Clinton backers gave the maximum amount of $2,700.

Sanders has seen support grow among the glitterati as his national profile steadily climbed. But a core group of Hollywood supporters has been with the Independent senator from Vermont since the very beginning, like Spotlight’s Mark Ruffalo, who regularly pitched in $100 a month.

Sanders frequently touts his distaste for Super PACs and reliance on small-dollar donations, so his stable of stars mostly chip in small amounts at a stable pace rather than hulking sums.

GOP lags in left-leaning Hollywood

Republicans are rather less popular with red carpet walkers.

Donald Trump’s most notable financial supporter in the filings is Beth Chapman, who leads tag-team bounty hunting expeditions on reality TV with her husband Dog.

California’s former Governator, Arnold Schwarzenneger, sent John Kasich a $2,700 check, burnishing the Ohio governor’s reputation as a moderate consensus-creator.

As for Ted Cruz’s most noteworthy backers, the biggest name we found was author Dean Koontz.

See for yourself

A host of other stars, ranging from Steven Spielberg to Amy Poehler to Days of Our Lives’ Deidre Hall, are heavily financially invested in the 2016 election outcome.

Check out the rest of the celebrity supporters below:

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