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A version of this story first appeared in the May 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
In the three months since Kennedy scion, Santa Monica activist and longtime Bono philanthropic partner Bobby Shriver announced his run for a Los Angeles County supervisorial seat, he has raked in nearly $848,000 in his quest to represent the Westside. With strong backing from the entertainment industry, his 400-page financial disclosure report looks like the guest list at the Governors Ball.
Oprah Winfrey gave, as did Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jimmy Iovine, Warren Beatty, Jessica Alba, Chris O’Donnell, Rob Lowe, Larry David, Ted Danson, Joan Cusack, Harvey Keitel, Renee Zellweger and Michael Douglas.
Many of the town’s top executives and their deputies came out in support of Shriver’s effort to win the seat being vacated by Zev Yaroslavsky. The DreamWorks troika — Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen — are among those who donated the legal maximum of $300 a person. Bob Iger, Jim Gianopulos, Kevin Tsujihara, HBO’s Michael Lombardo, Disney’s Sean Bailey and 20th Century Fox’s Jennifer Carreras also gave. The entire Horn family (Alan, Cindy, Cody and Cassidy) donated the max. So did the Avants (Clarence, Jacqueline, Nicole and Alex.)
Moguls Terry Semel, Michael King, Steve Bing and George Soros kicked in cash, as did Warren Buffett and his three children, Susan, Howard and Peter. Superagents Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, Bob Gersh, Chris Silbermann and Jay Sures gave to the campaign, along with directors J.J. Abrams, Rob Reiner and Cameron Crowe.
As a Kennedy cousin, Shriver is an instant high-wattage political star by virtue of being born into a family that’s as close to royalty as there is in America. His own efforts and his longtime partnership with global superstar and activist Bono also have made him a member in good standing with the international philanthropic elite that includes people like Soros and Buffett. Finally, his long residence on Los Angeles’ wealthy and overwhelmingly Democratic Westside has made him a friend and neighbor to the multitude of celebrities, agents and high-level executives who call the area home.
With donations from so many Hollywood moguls, stars and studio heads, it’s no wonder that Shriver has taken a commanding lead in the fundraising race for the Westside seat. It’s also no surprise that the well-moneyed candidate has decided not to abide by the county’s $1.4 million voluntary spending cap for the June 3 primary. (Shriver has complained that $1.4 million isn’t enough to get his message across to the two million voters in the expensive Westside media market.)
Yaroslavsky and other defenders of the spending cap have pointed out that the voluntary limit was set to guarantee a level electoral playing field when one of the candidates is — like Shriver — wealthy enough to finance his own campaign. Shriver and his campaign say they favor spending limits, but that the 18-year-old caps are too low, given the complexity and expense of the current L.A. media market.
Meanwhile, the onetime Santa Monica city councilman continues to collect campaign contributions. By the time election day rolls around, Shriver’s donor list could make even presidential hopefuls envious, let alone his opponents.
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