California donors poured $768 million into Senate, House and presidential races between 2007 and the end of 2014 — money that largely flowed from wealthy cities in Los Angeles County and the Bay Area.
An analysis of federal campaign finance data by MapLight.org found that residents of California’s most famous ZIP code — 90210 — gave the most money, $12.8 million, over the eight-year period. Aside from the Bay Area and L.A. County’s dominance of the top 20 most generous ZIP codes, Sacramento and Newport Beach were also in the mix.
In all, residents of the following cities poured nearly $155 million into the coffers of federal candidates over the eight-year period:
|90210||$12,860,713.00||Beverly Hills||Los Angeles County||16,984|
|90049||$11,383,548.00||Los Angeles (Brentwood)||Los Angeles County||29,275|
|90266||$11,124,125.00||Manhattan Beach||Los Angeles County||30,505|
|95814||$10,244,835.00||Sacramento (downtown)||Sacramento County||5,330|
|94010||$8,503,650.00||Burlingame||San Mateo County||35,172|
|94109||$8,473,744.00||San Francisco (Nob Hill/Russian Hill)||San Francisco County||38,763|
|94105||$8,452,198.00||San Francisco (Rincon Hill/SoMa||San Francisco County||5,271|
|92660||$8,358,433.00||Newport Beach||Orange County||28,529|
|90024||$8,091,490.00||Los Angeles (Westwood)||Los Angeles County||22,009|
|92037||$8,039,083.00||La Jolla||San Diego County||30,981|
|90067||$7,844,815.00||Los Angeles (Century City)||Los Angeles County||5,575|
|95841||$7,679,058.00||Sacramento (North Highlands)||Sacramento County||13,816|
|94301||$7,358,970.00||Palo Alto||Santa Clara County||14,401|
|90272||$6,822,879.00||Pacific Palisades||Los Angeles County||19,526|
|94025||$6,625,643.00||Menlo Park||San Mateo County||32,613|
|94027||$6,289,276.00||Atherton||San Mateo County||6,145|
|94022||$5,646,046.00||Los Altos||Santa Clara County||17,620|
|94901||$5,469,509.00||San Rafael||Marin County||33,561|
The numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise to political observers — federal candidates, particularly Democrats, have long used the Golden State to fill their campaign coffers.
“Why not come here and use California as a piggy bank if you’re a candidate? People out here are politically interested and very excited to see candidates,” said Rick Hasen, an election law professor at UC Irvine.
Also unsurprising, said Hasen: The most money came from some of the state’s wealthiest communities. He said in general the richest 0.1 percent of Americans donate the most to political campaigns.
“So it’s just par for the course that candidates and parties — and now these outside groups — go to where the money is, so now they are going to the richest part of California.”
Hasen said that because the data include only contributions to candidates, it “grossly understates the amount of money that is certainly coming from rich Californians.”
And while $768 million is a lot of money, Hasen said the figures would be even higher if both parties viewed the Golden State as up for grabs in presidential races.
“If this were a competitive state, you’d see even more money coming in, because you’d have candidates and political operatives coming here even more,” he said. “The fact is that California is a safe Democratic state and so you don’t have, for example, presidential candidates making many visits out here to campaign.”
But, he said, “the money’s here,” so they still show up to ask for it.