Bill Maher Pledges $1 Million to Obama Re-Election Super PAC

COMMENTARY | Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher has entered the world of super PACs. The television host announced during his latest comedy special on Thursday night that he would be giving $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC known as Priorities USA Action. The event and the announcement were streamed live.

Maher’s entrance into the world of political donations in such a big way has raised some eyebrows, to say the least. On his HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the host routinely takes issue with the actions of politicians from both sides of the aisle. Newsday pointed out in a report on Friday, however, that the move really shouldn’t have come as that much of a surprise, given Maher’s unabashedly liberal leanings on his show.

In the past Maher had claimed to be a libertarian, and voiced his support for Ralph Nader in 2000. But in 2004 he backed John Kerry, and has appeared to lean more towards Democratic candidates in the last few years as a matter of course. With his endorsement of President Barack Obama’s re-election bid, he’s just making the jump official.

Maher hosted an episode of his show geared specifically towards debating the existence and actions of super PACs earlier this year, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fellow left-leaning comedian Rob Reiner shredded the idea of PACs, calling them “one of the worst things to have happened this election cycle.”

For his part, Maher said during his announcement that he felt that his donation to a pro-Obama PAC was the “the wisest investment I think I could make.” The particular PAC that he is donating to has not being doing well in regards to fundraising, so far relying mostly upon large-dollar amount donations such as that of Jeffrey Katzenberg, who donated $2 million, to continue their activities, according to the Wall Street Journal.

PACs in general are relying upon handfuls of ultra-rich backers to pay for the campaign ads and other activities that they carry on in support of their particular causes and candidates. Priorities USA Action is hardly alone in that, although they are perhaps an extreme example. A full $4 million of the PACs now $5.5 million in funding has come from large single donations such as Maher’s.

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