Last week, President Obama gave out his last batch of Presidential Medals of Freedom to 21 honorees, the majority of whom had one thing in common – significant donations or strong support for Democratic causes.
According to the Washington Free Beacon’s analysis of Federal Election Commission records, twelve of the honorees publicly backed Obama or his policies, and eleven actually made significant contributions to Democratic campaigns or committees.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor–it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” President Obama said in a statement. “From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”
Indeed they have, at least from Obama’s perspective. Here’s the skivvy, according to IJ Review:
Ellen DeGeneres: Donated $35,800 in 2012 to the Obama Victory Fund and $100,000 in 2016 to the Hillary Victory Fund.
Robert De Niro: Donated $10,000 to the Obama Victory Fund and $2,500 to Obama’s general election campaign in 2012.
Tom Hanks: Donated $2,300 to Obama’s election campaign in 2008, $2,500 in 2012, and $2,700 to Hillary’s primary campaign in 2016.
Michael Jordan: Threw a $3 million fundraiser, for $20,000 per person during Obama’s 2012 campaign.
Lorne Michaels: Donated $4,600 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008.
Bruce Springsteen: Donated $13,200 to Democratic committees such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Russ Feingold (D., Wis.)
Robert Redford: Endorsed Obama in 2012 and fundraised for Feingold (D., Wis.) in 2016.
Bill Gates: Donated $17,900 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2012 and $50,000 to Obama’s inauguration in 2009 along with Melinda Gates.
Melinda Gates: Donated $35,800 to the joint fundraising committee and $5,000 to Obama’s 2012 primary and general election campaigns.
Frank Gehry: Donated $4,600 to Obama’s campaign in 2008, $80,000 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2012, and $60,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund.
Newt Minow: Donated $7,500 to committees supporting Obama in the early 2000s.
Those who weren’t Democratic donors or Obama supporters included Blackfeet tribal elder Elouise Cobell, singer Diana Ross, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, computer scientist and mathematician Margaret Hamilton, and baseball broadcaster Vin Scully, who was the only known Republican donor of the group.
By contrast, many of President Bush’s Medal of Freedom recipients were clear Democratic supporters and donors, including Aretha Franklin, Estée Lauder, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, Andy Griffith, and Arnold Palmer, according to IJ Review.
The White House did not respond to the Free Beacon’s request for information about the factors the president took into account when making his Presidential Medal of Freedom selections.
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