Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel chat before they square off in a debate at USC's Health Sciences Campus. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2013)

Follow the money.

As voters debate whether to pick Wendy Greuel or Eric Garcetti as Los Angeles’ next mayor, the Los Angeles Times’ Data Desk examined who is contributing to their campaigns. Readers can click through an interactive graphic that shows who is donating the most and where their money is going.

The analysis of campaign contributions shows that big donors are using loosely regulated "super PACs" to help candidates like never before, and that strict limits on campaign contributions imposed by voters nearly three decades ago are crumbling.

While Garcetti and Greuel are legally limited to directly accepting $1,300 per donor per election, deep-pocketed contributors can and are channeling their support into independent political action committees that are not subject to any contribution limits. Of the $17.5 million collected so far to support Greuel and Garcetti, roughly one-third — a record $6.1 million — has gone into such outside committees that can accept unlimited contributions.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

Against this backdrop, and as the mayoral candidates strive to create a distinction in voters’ minds before the May 21 runoff election, Garcetti and Greuel are hammering at each other’s ethics. (And the race to replace Garcetti on the City Council is getting nasty.)

Times’ metro columnist Sandy Banks is so dismayed by the mayoral duo’s lack of pizzazz that she wishes that the man they are vying to replace -- termed-out Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- could run for another term.

Any readers who are getting nostalgic for city leaders of yesteryear can click through this gallery of the city’s past mayors.

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