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Biden taps Obama, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and the Clintons for mega fundraisers

One high-profile event will feature a contest with Clooney and Roberts on social media platforms to engage grassroots donors, according to details first shared with NBC News.
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s campaign plans to host a major fundraiser in Los Angeles next month with former President Barack Obama and Hollywood superstars George Clooney and Julia Roberts, according to a campaign official.

The star-studded lineup is expected to boost Biden’s fundraising efforts at a time when Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee are aiming to close the cash gap now that the former president has won the delegates needed to secure the nomination, allowing him to use all the GOP tools at his disposal.

The high-profile Biden event, set for mid-June, will feature a contest with Clooney and Roberts run across the campaign’s social media platforms to engage grassroots donors, as well as top celebrities and surrogates, according to details first shared with NBC News. The two Academy Award winners will also lend their names for campaign emails and text messages, in hopes of attracting more contributions.

The campaign plans to promote the Los Angeles fundraiser in a fashion similar to the glitzy evening Biden held with Obama and former President Bill Clinton in New York City in late March, which brought in $26 million. Biden campaign aides said that amount was a Democratic fundraising record for a single event.

The president is also expected to hold a fundraiser with Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the East Coast early this summer, according to a source familiar with the plans, first shared with NBC News.

Julia Roberts and George Clooney
Julia Roberts and George Clooney arrive for the premiere of "Ticket to Paradise" in Westwood, Calif., on Oct. 17, 2022.Michael Tran / AFP via Getty Images

For months, the Biden campaign has had a cash advantage over Trump, allowing it to build out infrastructure in battleground states and hire staff.

“We’re not under any illusion that he’s not going to narrow the gap,” a Biden campaign adviser said. “But what he can’t get back is the time we’ve had with all this money to do what we’ve done.”

Biden just concluded a West Coast fundraising swing through Northern California and the Seattle area this weekend, raking in $10 million in two days, according to a source familiar with the total amount who first shared the details with NBC News.

News of another marquee fundraiser comes as the campaign is bracing for new campaign finance filings that may for the first time show Trump’s campaign eating into what had been Biden’s biggest advantage so far in the 2024 race.

The Biden campaign ended March with $85.5 million in cash on hand after raising $43.8 million that month — nearly tripling the Trump campaign’s haul in that period, according to the most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission. The Biden campaign’s financial position when factoring in the Democratic National Committee is almost double that of Trump and the Republican National Committee — $131 million versus $67 million.

Team Biden’s strong March was boosted by the three-presidents fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall. But Trump answered back quickly with his own high-dollar affair in Palm Beach, Florida, in early April. His campaign said the event raised $50.5 million, portions of which will likely be reflected in the next FEC filing.

The Republican National Committee said this month that along with the Trump campaign it expects to report raising a combined $76 million in April.

The Biden campaign expects to release its April fundraising figures closer to the May 20 deadline. One campaign official said it’s to be expected that Trump’s fundraising would pick up now that the Republican nomination fight is over, but insisted that Biden’s fundraising pace remains strong.

Speaking with reporters last week, Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler said regardless of what Trump’s tally is from April, the president’s campaign has long been leveraging its cash advantage to build out a significant re-election effort on the ground and boost its message across the battleground state airwaves.

“I’ll take that over whatever dollar figure Trump and his team actually end up filing in their report,” Tyler said.

Biden has often seen significant spikes in small-dollar donations around major events, like Trump’s victories this year in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries, as well as the State of the Union address in March. April, though, was largely dominated by Trump’s court cases as Biden held a series of battleground-state visits to discuss the economy, abortion rights and student debt.

Biden attended only two high-dollar fundraisers — in Chicago and the New York area — in April. One New York-based Biden campaign donor who serves on the national finance committee said the number of events featuring not just Biden but other surrogates has “dried up” as donors felt tapped out after the event with Obama and Clinton. But the donor expects the pace to pick up again this summer.

Obama has been a key part of Biden’s fundraising efforts. In April, the campaign launched a series of digital ads featuring Obama and Biden pitching viewers to make small-dollar donations. In the year since Biden kicked off his re-election effort, small-dollar solicitations from Obama have helped generate more than $17 million, the campaign said.

The Biden and Obama teams continue to discuss the scope of the former president’s engagement, including a recent in-person meeting between Obama and Biden senior adviser Mike Donilon, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Obama is also expected to do fundraisers in the coming months for the Democrats’ Senate and House campaign committees, as well as the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, according to an Obama official.