Who do the A-listers call when they want to get things done? They call The Influencers -- a key group of people who have been quietly advising their clients on how to get involved in the political and philanthropic spheres. You might not know their names, but you’re sure to know their Hollywood clients, and the Influencers are the first on the phone list when politicians make their SoCal campaign stops for donations, endorsements and most importantly, the stellar Hollywood network. Find out who the five key Hollywood influencers are in these in-depth interviews and profiles, as they discuss their careers and experiences in Tinseltown’s dalliance with D.C.
Name: Noah Mamet
Current Role: President of Noah Mamet & Associates LLC
Some of the most important but generally low-profile players in any major political campaigns are the “bundlers.” With strict and relatively small limits imposed on individual campaign donations, a bundler’s role is to gather as many individual donations as possible from a group or community and present it as a packaged sum — literally, a bundle — to the campaign.
Los Angeles–based Noah Mamet has been a rising talent in this part of the political world, operating as a bundler for key Democratic campaigns. He founded Noah Mamet & Associates in 2004, after having served for seven years as the national finance director for then-House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri. Mamet's operation focuses on the money connection between Hollywood and Washington, in part by making sure celebrities and other industry insiders channel their interests (and their money) into the best political fit.
"Those in the entertainment community who are most effective at presenting their cause are the ones who are most informed and are able to answer tough questions from those who oppose the issue, whatever that issue is,” says Mamet, discussing the challenges Hollywood faces in D.C.
“Today, we see few celebrities go public with a cause without being well versed,” he adds. “In addition, most have some personal experience with the issue which fends off criticism that their celebrity status alone entitles them to be a spokesperson for a cause."
A native of Manhattan Beach, CA, Mamet can trace his connections in Tinseltown back nearly two decades. Fresh out of college, he worked as a driver and “body person” in the unsuccessful 1992 primary campaign of Democrat Mel Levine for U.S. Senate. Mamet went on to work for the California Democratic Party and helped run the ’92 Bill Clinton campaign in Santa Barbara County.
Since then, it’s been a head-on run of local, state and national campaigning for Mamet, strategically tapping the wallets of actors, director and producers who yearn to have some political influence.
Mamet helped bring people together as executive producer of one of the largest Democratic congressional fundraisers ever, held at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood in 2002. The event featured Hollywood A-lister and political heavyweight Barbra Streisand performing to a star-studded house that included Christian Slater and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and pulled in more than $6 million for the Democratic National Committee.
Mamet had at one point been a bundler for Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2008, but he is now a key player in President Obama’s nascent 2012 re-election campaign. When Obama came to Hollywood in April of this year, Mamet was one of the key bundlers behind the event. By the end of the second quarter, he had already amassed contributions of more than $500,000, placing him in the upper tier of Obama fundraisers.
“Fundraising is a relationship business, and we are constantly going to people we know and asking them to support the president,” says Mamet. “I believe we are going to break every fundraising record, including having the most individual small donors ever.”
The Obama for American 2012 campaign recently released figures for its donations so far, showing $37 million in the bank, which the Washington Post believes “signals another potential juggernaut like 2008.”
The Obama team has already enlisted 240 big-money fundraisers between April and July, and Mamet's connections have been crucial. His client list includes Hollywood heavyweights such as agent Casey Wasserman, founder of the Wasserman Media Group, and International Creative Management CEO Chris Silbermann. Through Silbermann alone, it is likely that Mamet can secure access to a client roster that includes Melissa Leo, Al Pacino, Jesse Eisenberg and Susan Sarandon.
But despite the stealthy start, Mamet believes his biggest challenge will be to bring new donors into the president's re-election campaign.
“Especially helpful are first-time donors and supporters, since we have to grow our donor base in order to compete with the flood of money to be spent by right-wing groups like Crossroads GPS, which is run by Karl Rove, and who have pledged to spend nearly $200 million in secret undisclosed money to defeat President Obama next year," explains Mamet.
Obama’s 2008 campaign saw a surge in interest from the younger generation. In a Vanity Fair profile of Young Hollywood in 2008, Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, Kat Dennings and Zoe Kravitz, all rising darlings in Hollywood, voiced their support for Obama. Mamet hopes Young Hollywood will step up to the plate once again.
"They will be especially active next year as the presidential election gets closer,” says Mamet. “Knowing that the next president will likely set the course for a generation on issues with the environment, education and the Supreme Court is incredibly compelling to the younger Hollywood generation."