Tab for L.A. Mayoral Battle Hits $13.2 Million


Antonio Villaraigosa and James K. Hahn have spent $13.2 million on their battle to become the next mayor of Los Angeles, including $5 million in the frantic scramble since the two candidates landed in a runoff campaign seven weeks ago, according to final preelection campaign finance statements filed Friday.

As they have closed in on the finish, Villaraigosa has pulled away from his rival in terms of money raised, even as polls suggest that Hahn enjoys a modest lead among voters.

Villaraigosa, the former Assembly speaker, raised $926,168 in the latest reporting period--almost $400,000 more than City Atty. Hahn. And as the long, rough-and-tumble campaign entered its final days, Villaraigosa had significantly more cash on hand in his campaign coffers.

The Villaraigosa campaign reported $385,044 in the bank as of Wednesday, compared to $25,381 for Hahn.

But the fund-raising by the candidates reflects only part of the picture as the two Democrats battle for the city's highest office.

Villaraigosa has been aided by massive contributions made by some of the richest men in Los Angeles to the California Democratic Party, which is waging its own campaign to elect him. Labor unions working through the Los Angeles Federation of Labor have mounted their own effort to promote the former lawmaker's candidacy.

The Service Employees International Union reported late Friday that it made an independent expenditure of $40,000 in support of Villaraigosa to a campaign committee associated with City Councilman Mark-Ridley Thomas. That same committee is waging an independent campaign for Villaraigosa.

Hahn, on the other hand, is receiving a financial boost from two Indian tribes that have contributed a total of $150,000 to pay for anti-Villaraigosa mailers. The Soboba Band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino near San Jacinto in Riverside County, paid $100,000 last week for mailers that portray Villaraigosa as soft on crime.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians reported late Friday to the city Ethics Commission that it made an independent expenditure of $50,000 for a mailer to oppose Villaraigosa.

Ronald Tutor, head of construction giant Tutor-Saliba Corp., reported that he spent $75,000 for 240,000 mailers critical of Villaraigosa.

All these independent expenditures are in addition to the candidates' own fund-raising.

Since they won the right to face off in the runoff, Villaraigosa has raised $2.9 million in contributions and matching funds, compared to Hahn's $2.3 million.

While the Democratic Party and Federation of Labor pay for a mail and phone campaign, Villaraigosa has spent heavily on television ads. His campaign reported spending $2.7 million on the runoff through May 30, compared to $2.3 million for Hahn.

"We knew that we would be outspent because of different reasons," said Hahn campaign spokesman Kam Kuwata. In particular, he cited the fund-raising and spending by organized labor and the Democratic Party.

Kuwata charged that the Democratic Party has refused to disclose all of the contributions that have been received during the runoff campaign. He said the secrecy has obscured what is effectively money-laundering through the party.

The state party has contributed significant sums toward the election of Los Angeles' next mayor. And it, in turn, has relied on hefty donations from several well-heeled local businessmen. Billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle each gave $100,000, as did screenwriter Stephen Bing.

The California Teachers Assn. contributed at least $250,000. So did the Service Employees International Union. The Democratic National Committee kicked in $240,000.

In its most recent report filed with the city Ethics Commission this week, the party also listed a $100,000 contribution from Westside developer Casden Properties and another $100,000 from the SEIU.

Villaraigosa campaign consultant Parke Skeleton said the funds given to the state party or collected by the county Federation of Labor from union members do not constitute contributions under state law and are not subject to the city's $1,000 contribution limit. Instead, he said, under Proposition 34, a ballot measure approved by the state's voters last fall, expenditures by political parties, unions and other groups to communicate with their members are explicitly not contributions or independent spending.

Even though Villaraigosa has raised more and spent more and is trailing in recent opinion polls, Skelton said he believes there is "not much difference" between the two campaigns' resources when "all the outside quasi-independent money that is being used to finance Hahn's vicious smear campaign" is added.

"I don't think races are totally about who outspends who," Skelton said. "A lot of factors enter into a race."

For his part, Kuwata said that although the Hahn campaign has been outspent by Villaraigosa and his supporters, he believes Hahn's spending has been more effective.


Fund-Raising in Mayor's Race

Former Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa has outraised and outspent his rival, City Atty. James K. Hahn, as the race for mayor enters its final days. he had more cash on hand than Hahn as of Wednesday, the close of the last preelection reporting period.

The Runoff Campaign

James K. Hahn

Contributions: $1,697,796

Expenditures: $2,335,146

Matching funds: $626,593

Cash on hand: $25,381


Antonio Villaraigosa

Contributions: $2,350,504

Expenditures: $2,665,067

Matching funds: $554,979

Cash on hand: $385,044

Sources: Contribution reports, Los Angeles Ethics Commission

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