Donations From Hollywood Pour Into Los Angeles Mayor's Race

Nearly $1 million has gone into candidates campaigns, with about half going to Councilman Eric Garcetti

From Tom Hanks and Eva Longoria to movers and shakers behind the scenes, Hollywood has pumped nearly $1 million dollars into campaign coffers in the race for Los Angeles mayor, according to records released by the LA City Ethics Commission.

About half the money has gone to Councilman Eric Garcetti, who has has raised nearly $500,000 -- about a fifth of his overall campaign war chest -- from the entertainment industry, a joint project between NBC4 and 89.3 KPCC radio reveals.

Garcetti contributors include Jake Gyllenhaal, Salma Hayek, Amy Poehler, Heather Thomas, Laura Giacomo, Jamie Lee Curtis, J.K. Simmons and Tim Olyphant, according to campaign finance records.

Next in line is City Controller Wendy Greuel, who has amassed just over $275,000 in Tinseltown contributions from stars such as Tom Hanks, his wife Rita Wilson, Mariska Hargitay, Eva Longoria, Cate Capshaw, Marg Helgenberger and Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame.

Fellow Star Trek cast-member George Takei sent his money to Councilwoman Jan Perry.

"She has that uncanny ability to build coalitions from disparate communities, cultures and ethnicities," Takei said of Perry.

The cap on individual contributions is $1,300, but money is only part of the value of a Hollywood connection.


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If a candidate "can say that a Tom Hanks will be at a fundraiser, I can guarantee you other people will go to the fundraiser, not for the politician, but to be associated with Tom Hanks, or a similar actor like that," said Bob Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies.

Takei says it’s not so much about being a star as much as it is being an Angeleno.

"We’re citizens here," he said, "and we have an equal responsibility as citizens as any other citizen of the city."

Kevin James, the only Republican in the leading field of candidates, has just over $26,000 in Hollywood contributions, including a check from actor Gary Sinise.

Behind-the-scenes money is also finding its way into campaign coffers.

Time Warner studio employees have pumped nearly $50,000 into the race, while Disney staffers have kicked in more than $30,000.

Workers at NBCUniversal (which owns NBC4 and this website) have contributed a little more than $10,000.

"Studios want things from government," Stern said. "They want permits, they want buildings, they want expansions, perhaps, of their studios."

For a list of individual actors and the candidates they donated to, visit "Hollywood Stars, Celebrities Backing Garcetti" on KPCC's website.

And to view the following data visualization in a new window, visit "Hollywood Insideers Backing Garcetti, Greuel for Mayor" on KPCC's website.

This story is part of a collaboration between NBC4 and 89.3 KPCC.

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