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The political adviser to Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg has sent a letter to Hollywood political activists soliciting $15,000 contributions to a local super PAC supporting City Controller Wendy Greuel’s run for Los Angeles mayor.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, is signed by political consultant Andy Spahn and requests the large donations for Working Californians to Elect Wendy Greuel Mayor, an independent expenditure committee created by city unions and business interests to secure individual contributions in excess of the normal $1,300-per-person limit.
Spahn not only advises Spielberg and Katzenberg, along with former DreamWorks compatriot David Geffen, he also served as a key Hollywood point man for the Barack Obama re-election campaign. Before seeking elective office, Greuel worked as a DreamWorks executive, where she reportedly established a particularly strong relationship with Katzenberg, a major Obama donor and fundraiser in the recent general election.
With less than a month to go before the March 5 mayoral election, Greuel is locked in a neck-and-neck race with the field’s other front-runner, City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who also enjoys considerable Hollywood support. Working Californians is the first local super PAC to pop up in Los Angeles and, thus far, reportedly has drawn the bulk of its funds from the union representing employees of the Department of Water and Power. A substantial expenditure on its part at this stage of the campaign presumably would go to television and radio advertising.
“Please join us in supporting Wendy Greuel for Mayor of Los Angeles,” Spahn’s letter reads. “We are part of an independent campaign committed to her election. … We strongly believe Wendy has the right balance of experience and vision it will take to address the many challenges that face our city.
According to Working California’s recent campaign filings with the city Ethics Commission, the group had received two notable Hollywood donations: $5,000 from Norman Lear and $2,500 from Judd Apatow.
During the presidential election, Katzenberg helped launch the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, with $2 million in seed money to battle the conservative groups funded by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers. While local Democrats applauded Katzenberg’s initiative to “even the playing field” in the presidential election, his decision to help fund a super PAC to give Greuel the edge in the mayoral election is generating resentment among Garcetti supporters in the entertainment industry.
“There is a big difference between fighting against conservative Republican super PACs and funding super PACs attacking progressive Democrats,” Bill Carrick, Garcetti’s campaign manager, said Wednesday evening.
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