Hollywood rallies around Boxer

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is pulling in some of the biggest names in Hollywood for her Golden State re-election bid — think Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, David Geffen and Kate Moss — among tens of thousands of others.


A search of Boxer’s 2009 donations as filed with the Federal Election Commission show a busy year for the 69-year-old, three-term Democrat who was first elected to the House in 1982 and the Senate a decade later. In all, Boxer collected $5.8 million during the year, $4.6 million of which came from individuals.

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They include some of the entertainment industry’s biggest names: Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate, gave a combined $9,600. Spielberg’s old DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife, Marilyn, gave the same. The third former partner, producer David Geffen, gave $4,700.

Actors stand out in the lists. James Belushi and Peter Coyote each gave $500. Sally Field gave $1,000. Former "Saturday Night Live" actor Kevin Nealon pitched in $250. Streisand donated $1,000.

Plenty of musicians show up as well. Jazz artist Herb Alpert and his wife, Lani, each gave $4,700. Singer Edie Brickell and her husband, Paul Simon, each gave $1,000. Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh donated $1,000, and folk/rock singer Bonnie Ratt gave $600. And Nancy Sinatra sent in $1,250.

Producers and celebrity attorneys were also plentiful: Wes Craven, director of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies, sent in $250. Attorney Alan Dershowitz gave $500, writer/filmmaker Nora Ephron gave $1,000, and longtime record executive Mo Ostin gave $1,400.

Several names linked to Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton make an appearance. Harold Ickes, President Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, gave $1,000. Mack McLarty, Clinton’s top chief of staff, gave $500. And Harold Wolfson, communications director for Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.), donated $1,000.

Among the other names: San Francisco Giants Vice President Laurence Baer, who gave $500; former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) and his wife, Sharon, each of whom gave $1,000; Google Inc. executive David Drummond, who gave $1,000; and Christine Pelosi, a San Francisco-based consultant and daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who gave $300.

Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor and U.S. Senate analyst for The Cook Political Report, said Boxer’s high-profile donors aren’t likely to hurt her with Golden State voters.

“In California, it’s pretty accepted because most of the people who gave Boxer money actually vote in California,” Duffy said. “I don’t believe it tells us anything new about Boxer or her politics. She has a voting record that supports many of the same causes that the stereotypical celebrity supports.”

Boxer’s campaign emphasizes that besides celebrities, Boxer received donations from a wide array of physicians, farmers, homemakers and others.

Rose Kapolczynski, Boxer’s campaign manager, said Boxer is “proud to have earned the support of a broad cross-section of this incredibly diverse state that is home to every possible profession, from high-tech entrepreneurs to nurses to farmers to actors.”

“In fact, one of the most represented professions among our donors is teachers — thousands of teachers have contributed to her campaign. Nearly a thousand people are in the ‘Be A Boxer’ program of recurring small monthly contributions — including a bookkeeper in Los Angeles and a truck driver in Union City.

“More than 61,000 people have contributed to Sen Boxer's campaign -- including people in every single county in California and every single state in the union. Eighty percent of Boxer contributions are under $100.”

Boxer ended 2009 in prime financial shape. Subtracting her expenses and adding the money she already had on hand, she rang in the New Year with more than $7.2 million on hand. No one else came close — according to the FEC, GOP candidate Carly Fiorina was the next-closest winner in the money race, ending the year with $2.7 million in the bank.

Boxer does have a challenger in the June 8 primary elections — online political blogger Mickey Kaus, who filled out campaign papers earlier this month but has not yet filed an FEC report.


A glance at the more well-known names among Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) 2009 campaign contributors:

Alpert, Herb: musician, $2,400

Alpert, Lani: musician (wife), $2,400

Alvarez, Frederick: Wayans Bros. producer, $250

Baer, Laurence: SF Giants vice president, $500

Boggs, Hale: lobbyist, $500

Brickell, Edie: musician, $1,000

Belushi, James: actor, $500

Calabrese, Joseph: celebrity attorney, $250

Carsey, Marcia: producer, $4,800

Coyote, Peter: actor, $500

Craven, Wes: filmmaker, $250

David, Marjorie: producer, $250

Davis, Gray: attorney, former governor, $1,000

Davis, Sharon: wife of Gray Davis, $1,000

Dershowitz, Alan: attorney, $500

Drummond, David: Google Inc. executive, $1,000

Ephron, Nora: writer/filmmaker, $1,000

Field, Sally: actor, $1,000

Ford, Harold: former U.S. Senate candidate, $2,400

Geffen, David: producer/filmmaker, $4,700

Ickes, Harold: consultant, former Clinton official, $1,000

Katzenberg, Jeffrey: producer/filmmaker, $4,800

Katzenberg, Marilyn: wife of Jeffrey Katzenberg, $4,800

Krantz, Judith: writer, $2,400

Lesh, Phil: musician, $1,000

McLarty, Mack: former Clinton chief of staff, $500

Moss, Kate: actress/model, $500

Nealon, Kevin: actor, $250

Ostin, Mo: record executive, $1,400

Pelosi, Christine: consultant, daughter of Nancy Pelosi $300

Raitt, Bonnie: musician, $600

Simon, Paul: musician, $1,000

Sinatra, Nancy: musician, $1,250

Spielberg, Steven: filmmaker, $4,800

Spielberg, Kate: wife of Steven Spielberg, $4,800

Striestrand, Barbra: singer/actor, $1,000

Wolfson, Harold: former Hillary Clinton adviser, $1,000

Zerbe, Anthony: actor, $500