Politics, government and public life for Southern California

The ATM effect: LA's the place for campaign cash

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A late but interesting tidbit from the 2012 presidential election: when it came to fundraising, all roads led to L.A.

Los Angeles County donors were the top sources of campaign cash to candidates and political action committees last year, according to an analysis by The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.

It's no wonder that Democrat-dominant L.A. is seen more as an ATM for President Barack Obama than a place to stump for votes. Los Angeles voters put up with traffic jams but don't often see the person whose visit causes them — he's busy hitting up the heavy donors.

The Sunlight Foundation totes up the money spent on political campaigns and maps it by county, with a neat slider bar allowing the viewer to animate the display over time.

What it shows is that L.A. individual donors put $149 million into political campaigns in 2012. That works out to about $15 for every single one of the county's 9.9 million residents. Political giving, of course, is not spread out evenly, it tends to be concentrated among the wealthy.

Some 58 percent of L.A. County donations went to Democrats; in neighboring Orange County, 60 percent of the donations went to Republicans. Republicans claimed 68 percent of donations in Riverside County, and 50 percent in San Bernardino County

Third party candidates got very little from Los Angeles County donors, less than one-quarter of one percent of all donations nationwide came from L.A. County.

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