Most of Biden’s 17 Medal of Freedom Recipients Have Given Money to Democrats

President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 folks on Thursday.

An Insider overview of federal and state marketing campaign finance information presentations that many of the recipients have additionally made monetary contributions to Democrats — some to the track of tens of 1000’s of bucks.

All in all, 13 of the 17 recipients — they vary from long-time civil rights advocates, to skilled athletes, to well known public servants — have contributed money to Democrats.

4 others — Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, Catholic social justice suggest Sister Simone Campbell, New York vital care nurse Sandra Lindsay, and previous Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming — didn’t seem to have contributed to Democrats. Simpson, unsurprisingly, has a historical past of giving to Republicans.

Some recipients gave quite small sums to Democrats, and 3 of them — Richard Trumka, Steve Jobs, and the past due Sen. John McCain — are receiving the award posthumously.

However others gave giant money, and their awards nowadays underscore how this honor from time to time comes with political overtones. In 2018, as an example, then-President Donald Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Miriam Adelson, easiest referred to as spouse of on line casino multi-millionaire and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who has since died.

In keeping with a liberate from the White Space, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to people who’ve “made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or safety of america, international peace, or different important societal, public or personal endeavors.”

“Those seventeen American citizens display the facility of probabilities and embrace the soul of the country – exhausting paintings, perseverance, and religion,” the White Space mentioned.

Listed here are all the Medal of Freedom recipients who have given to Democrats, in line with Insider’s overview:

Gabby Giffords

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona, blows a kiss after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance throughout the overall consultation of the Democratic Nationwide Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina September 6, 2012.

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Gabrielle Giffords

Giffords, the previous Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, has given important sums to Democrats during the last decade. That is integrated each particular person contributions — together with a $1,000 contribution to Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia in 2013 — and contributions from her gun safety-focused Giffords PAC.

The PAC, based after she was once shot and seriously injured in a 2011 mass capturing at a Tucson, Arizona, match, not too long ago introduced $10 million in spending in key battleground states this 12 months, and has already spent over $6.5 million this cycle, in line with OpenSecrets.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the iPod Shuffle in 2005.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the iPod Shuffle in 2005.

James Leynse/Getty Photographs.

Steve Jobs

Jobs, who served as CEO of Apple previous to his dying in 2011, made occasional, however huge contributions to Democratic campaigns and reasons within the early 2000s.

A notable contribution got here in 2006, when he contributed $26,700 to Space Democrats’ marketing campaign arm because the birthday party sought to retake the chamber in that 12 months’s midterm elections. His biggest contribution was once the Democratic Nationwide Committee in 2000, when he contributed $50,000.

Alongside the best way, he contributed $2,000 to former Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel’s congressional marketing campaign, $2,000 to the past due Sen. Ted Kennedy’s 2000 Senate marketing campaign, and $500 to former New Jersey Sen. Invoice Bradley’s presidential marketing campaign in 1999.

Khizr Khan

Khizr Khan.


Khizr Khan

Khan, who rose to prominence after handing over a take-down of then-candidate Donald Trump on the 2016 Democratic Nationwide Conference, started contributing to Democratic applicants with some regularity in 2017.


However he is remained a small-dollar donor; he is simplest donated as much as $200 at a time, a lot of which went to Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia’s 2018 marketing campaign. 

On the other hand, Khan has helped a lot of different Democratic applicants fundraise, lending his title to quite a lot of fundraising pitches throughout the previous a number of years.

“There is not any position for intolerance in Congress,” reads a 2020 marketing campaign e mail on behalf of Democratic Rep. Josh More difficult of California written in Khan’s title.

And he is fundraised for Biden, too.

“I do know Joe Biden can defeat Donald Trump, and he’ll be a really perfect president to unite and heal us. However Joe wishes our lend a hand,” Khan wrote in an April 2, 2020, e mail on behalf of Biden’s marketing campaign. “His fundraising has fallen in the back of and we wish to get it again heading in the right direction so his marketing campaign can get ready to stand Donald Trump.

Biden additionally nominated Khan to america Fee on Global Non secular Freedom ultimate 12 months.

US Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his daughter Meghan McCain (L) attend a campaign rally at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio on October 19, 2008.

The past due Sen. John McCain was once a Republican, however he as soon as made a monetary contribution to a Democrat.

ROBYN BECK/AFP by the use of Getty Photographs

John McCain

McCain, the past due Republican senator from Arizona and 2008 GOP presidential nominee, won’t ever be unsuitable as a Democratic megadonor. Regardless of his popularity as a “maverick” and his willingness to dollar his personal birthday party — he killed a GOP-led Obamacare repeal in 2017 — the majority of McCain’s political giving was once directed at Republicans throughout his existence.

On the other hand, a overview of federal data presentations no less than one contribution: $500 to former Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt of Arizona’s 1988 presidential marketing campaign.

Tragedy of Macbeth Denzel Washington

Actor Denzel Washington

“The Tragedy of Macbeth” / Apple TV Plus

Denzel Washington

Washington — some of the country’s maximum notable film actors who additionally directs and produces — has now and again spent giant on behalf of Democrats.

Maximum not too long ago, he contributed $12,500 in 2020 to the Black Financial Alliance, a political committee that works to elect Democrats who’re dedicated to Black financial growth. 

He additionally gave $24,300 to the Democratic Nationwide Committee in 2016, and made donations of greater than $2,000 to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 marketing campaign, Barack Obama’s 2008 marketing campaign, and Michelle Nunn’s 2014 US Senate marketing campaign in Georgia.

Father Alexander Karloutsos

Father Karloutsos, the previous vicar normal of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of The united states and non secular counselor to a number of US presidents, has a shockingly prolific report of political giving, together with contributions to each Democrats and Republicans.

Maximum not too long ago, he contributed $500 to Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York’s congressional marketing campaign in June 2021, and gave a complete of $900 to Biden’s 2020 presidential marketing campaign in $50 increments. 

However he is additionally given to Republicans as smartly, together with $500 to Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York’s congressional marketing campaign accounts in 2020 and a $1,000 contribution to former Sen. Rick Santorum’s 2006 Senate marketing campaign in Pennsylvania.

Fred Grey

Grey, who served within the Alabama Space of Representatives from 1971 to 2015 as one in all its first Black participants since Reconstruction, is a competent however modest contributor to Democratic reasons in his deep-red, Deep South state, each for state and federal campaigns.

Information display that Grey — a legal professional who is represented Rosa Parks, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King — has given 100 greenbacks apiece to state-level campaigns in Alabama throughout the ultimate 10 years, in addition to a few donations within the 1000’s of bucks to the state’s Democratic Govt Committee and america Senate campaigns of Roger Bedford.

Megan Rapinoe.

Football celebrity Megan Rapinoe

AP Photograph/Elaine Thompson

Megan Rapinoe

Rapinoe, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time Girls’s International Cup champion who has advocated for womens’ and LGBTQ rights, has made a few modest monetary contributions to Democrats.

In keeping with federal data, she gave $1,000 to Vice President Kamala Harris’s presidential marketing campaign in 2019, in addition to $100 to Amy McGrath’s long-shot Senate marketing campaign towards Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell in 2020.

However in spite of the contribution to Harris, she in the long run recommended Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential marketing campaign per week after Harris dropped out of the race.


Richard Trumka

Trumka, the long-time president of the American Federation of Exertions and Congress of Business Organizations (AFL-CIO), seems to have directed the majority of his political spending to his group’s political motion committee, in line with federal data.

On the other hand, the AFL-CIO — and arranged exertions extra widely — constitute a formidable pressure inside Democratic politics, and Trumka had important affect over how the federation of unions directed its monetary largesse.

In keeping with nonpartisan analysis group OpenSecrets, the union’s political operations have given Democrats and Democratic reasons thousands and thousands of bucks in direct contributions throughout fresh years.

Wilma Vaught

Vaught, one in all simply seven feminine generals within the Armed Forces on the time of her retirement in 1985, does no longer seem to have made any important federal marketing campaign contributions throughout the ultimate 12 years.

However sooner than that, she contributed greater than $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential marketing campaign, along side a handful of $250 contributions to EMILY’s Record, a political committee that backs ladies applicants who strengthen abortion rights, between 2001 and 2005. She additionally made a $250 contribution to Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s 2006 Space marketing campaign.

Diane Nash

Nash, the founding member of the Scholar Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who labored on behalf of civil rights reasons with Martin Luther King Jr., has made very small political contributions in recent times — by no means greater than $40 at a time.

In 2019 and 2020, she made common small-dollar contributions to Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential marketing campaign, and in 2016, she gave to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential marketing campaign.

Raul Yzaguirre

Yzaguirre, america Ambassador to the Dominican Republic below President Barack Obama and the previous president and CEO of the Nationwide Council of Los angeles Raza, has now and again made huge contributions to Democrats.

In keeping with federal data, he gave $1,500 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 marketing campaign and $1,000 to a number of Democratic congressional campaigns.

On the other hand, he does no longer seem to have made any important contributions since giving $1,000 to Senate Democrats’ marketing campaign arm in 2009.

Julieta García

García, the previous president of the College of Texas at Brownsville and the primary Hispanic girl to function a faculty president, gave $50 Julián Castro’s 2020 presidential marketing campaign.

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Editorial Staff
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