The Trump Donors, Investors, and Celebs Behind RFK’s 2024 Campaign

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Robert Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential campaign is being boosted by deep-pocketed supporters of Donald Trump, venture capitalists, conservative Hollywood types, and other celebrities. 

Democrats worry the Kennedy campaign could help tank President Joe Biden’s reelection bid and make Trump president again. He is also a danger to public health: Kennedy has spread false conspiracy theories about Covid-19 vaccines and claimed vaccines cause autism.

American Values 2024, a super PAC backing Kennedy, is the most important funding vehicle for his longshot bid for president. The group spent $7 million on a 30-second Super Bowl ad hyping Kennedy’s bid, which used recycled jingles and footage from the late President John F. Kennedy’s campaign, prompting outrage from the Kennedy clan and an apology from RFK. 

More importantly, the super PAC is funding efforts to secure Kennedy’s line on ballots, pledging to spend $15 million to gather signatures. The centrist Democratic group Third Way has pressed state officials to reject signatures collected by American Values 2024, on the grounds that super PACs must operate independently from candidates under federal election rules. 

American Values 2024 has so far raised $38 million, and its most important donor is longtime Republican financier Timothy Mellon. Mellon, the scion of the famous banking magnate Andrew Mellon, has contributed millions of dollars to conservative candidates over the years, including $15 million in donations to MAGA Inc, the premiere pro-Trump super PAC, this election cycle.

For American Values 2024, Mellon is a financial linchpin. He’s given $20 million to the group, or more than half of what it’s raised, helping the super PAC outstrip the Kennedy campaign’s own fundraising of nearly $25 million so far. Mellon previously drew criticism for using racist stereotypes in his autobiography. 

Mellon is not the only big-dollar MAGA donor propping up what many Democrats see as a spoiler candidate. Financier Omeed Malik, who has donated to both Republicans and Democrats over the years, leads an “anti-woke” investment firm financing former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s new media venture. 

Malik gave the $6,600 maximum to Kennedy’s campaign committee, Team Kennedy, last year. After a brief flirtation with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ doomed Republican presidential campaign, this month Malik committed to raising $3 million for Trump’s 2024 bid. 

Former Papa John’s Pizza CEO John Schnatter has given $6,600 to Team Kennedy. Schattner, who resigned as chairman of the pizza conglomerate in 2018 after apologizing for using a racist slur during a conference call, has long supported Republican candidates and causes. During the Obama era, Schattner opposed the Affordable Care Act and hosted Mitt Romney for a fundraiser during his 2012 presidential run. 

More recently, Schattner has become a vocal Trump supporter, criticizing Biden’s economic policies and praising Trump during a 2022 appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference. 

Gavin de Becker, a security consultant to tech titans like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, followed Mellon, offering American Values its second largest source of revenue in the form of $10 million worth of donations. Oddly, the super PAC has returned most of de Becker’s cash — with the explanation given that he has been providing “bridge funding” to the group. He has pledged to give more. 

Venture capitalists like Yext CEO Michael Walrath and former PayPal president David Marcus both contributed the maximum to Team Kennedy. 

Kennedy, who is married to actress Cheryl Hines, has tried to recruit celebrities to his campaign, including at a Los Angeles fundraiser last week. The event featured right-wing shock jock Adam Carolla, actors Jeremy Piven and Mike Binder, comedian Rob Schneider, who appeared on stage to tepid reviews. It’s unclear yet how much the event raised — tickets ranged from $150 to $1,500 — but a handful of Camelot-vintage and conspiracy enthusiast celebs have ponied up to Kennedy’s personal committee so far.


Oliver Stone, the director of the 1991 conspiracy flick “JFK” about the assassination of Kennedy’s uncle, also maxed out his contribution to Team Kennedy. Stone says he voted for Biden in 2020 but has soured on the incumbent following the Biden administration’s support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. Stone admires and has hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “a great leader.”

Similarly, in the summer of 2023, rock guitarist Eric Clapton, donated $5,000 to Kennedy, his first campaign contribution in federal election records. As Rolling Stone reported, Clapton has embraced conspiracy theories about Covid-19 and vaccines, and has donated to a number of anti-vaccine groups since the start of the global pandemic.

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