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Mayoral donations pour in from outside Los Angeles and out-of-state (updated)

A new report finds 42 percent of donations to Los Angeles' top four mayoral candidates came from outside the city limits.
A new report finds 42 percent of donations to Los Angeles' top four mayoral candidates came from outside the city limits.
Tracy O./Flickr Creative Commons

More than 40 percent of the contributions to Los Angeles’ top four mayoral candidates have come from outside the city limits and is money that would not be eligible for the city’s matching funds under a proposal being considered by the Ethics Commission.

A report from Common Cause concluded that 42 percent of the donations received by City Controller Wendy Greuel, council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, and attorney Kevin James were from individuals living outside of Los Angeles. Nine percent came from donors outside California.

In June, the Ethics Commission agreed to a proposal that would only provide matching funds for donations made by Angelenos living within the city limits. The rule, which requires approval from the Los Angeles City Council, would not take effect until the 2015 primary.

“We support the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission’s recommended changes to the matching funds program that would incentivize candidates to fundraise from Angelenos,” said Anjuli Kronheim, a Los Angeles-based organizer for Common Cause. “Additionally, by increasing the donation match rate from 1:1 to 4:1, candidates would not just chase donors who can give the maximum amount. We think these changes are crucial.”

So far, Greuel and Garcetti have each raised $2.2 million for their mayoral campaigns. Perry reported $1.1 million, and James has $222,000.

Greuel's donors include Hollywood types such as Steven Spielberg, Barry Diller and Candy Spelling, and political veterans like the ACLU's Ramona Ripston, attorney David Fleming and former Clinton spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers. In Garcetti's camp are actresses Salma Hayek and Jamie Lee Curtis, artist Shepherd Fairey, and John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.

The Perry campaign has received financial support from L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks, LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara and the Central City Association's Estela Lopez. 

The report also found that 18 percent of the donations from city residents to the four candidates came from the ZIP codes of Brentwood, Westwood, Century City, Pacific Palisades and Rancho Park.

“When our mayoral candidates are raising nearly a fifth of their money from ZIP codes that represent 4 percent of the city’s population, it’s a wake-up call to Angelenos,” said Kathay Feng, executive director of Common Cause.

The mayoral primary is set for March of next year.

This post has been updated.