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Manhattan Outpaces L.A. as Provider of Political Money, Study Finds : Donors: Angelenos give more of their money to individual candidates while New Yorkers favor party committees.

January 26, 1992|DWIGHT MORRIS and ALAN C. MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

WASHINGTON — Bennett S. Lebow is a prominent expert on leveraged buyouts. Paul Tudor Jones II is a Wall Street Wunderkind and philanthropist. Henry Everett is an investment firm president active in New York City's Jewish community.

The three wealthy businessmen also have made their mark in another elite world: They rank among the top political campaign contributors in Manhattan, which is the nation's preeminent source of campaign largess.

Big donors who live and work in two Manhattan congressional districts contributed more than $12.6 million to federal candidates, political parties and special-interest committees in 1989-90, a computer-based study by The Times found. This compares with nearly $11.4 million that flowed from four districts in and around Los Angeles' Westside during the same period.

The study of the two areas reveals key differences as well as striking parallels. Wall Street is the wellspring of major sums in New York; the entertainment community plays a similar role in Los Angeles. Angelenos give more of their money to individual candidates; New Yorkers give more to political party committees.

In both cities, Democratic candidates received the most money by far. In New York, Democrats got $4.2 million; Republicans, $1.7 million. That compares with Los Angeles totals of $4.7 million for Democrats and $1.2 million for Republicans. The figures reflect all contributions of $200 or more reported to the Federal Election Commission.

In contrast, Republican Party campaign committees in both cities raised more than their Democratic counterparts. The New York totals were $1.6 million for Republican Party committees and $1.1 million for their Democratic counterparts. In Los Angeles, $1.4 million went to GOP committees and $612,000 to Democratic committees.

Both cities export large sums to out-of-state candidates, who tend to raise similar amounts from each coast. This phenomenon reflects the increasing "nationalization" of fund raising in prominent, high-stakes races.

Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) ranked highest among outside candidates in New York and Los Angeles. He was followed by Democrat Harvey Gantt, who lost his bid to oust Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) in 1990; Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) and ex-Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.) were also among the big beneficiaries of both cities' campaign largess.

Bradley, a former New York Knicks basketball star, raised $696,631 in Manhattan; Gantt, $345,702; Levin, $191,954; Kerry, $185,449; Simon, $123,675, and Boschwitz, $136,640.

Rep. Bill Green (R-N.Y.), who represents Manhattan's affluent East Side, was fourth on the list with $220,934. Democratic Rep. Charles E. Schumer, who represents Brooklyn and is a key member of the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee, was third at $223,750.

An analysis of the occupations of big givers shows that nearly one dollar in five from Manhattan was raised directly from Wall Street brokerage houses, securities firms and investment bankers. Another large source of funds is lawyers and law firms. These are followed by real estate interests, the arts community and retirees.

In Los Angeles, the entertainment community accounts directly for nearly one dollar in 10. Here too lawyers and law firms are major contributors. Next are the self-employed, retirees, investors, real estate interests and physicians. Some of these contributors undoubtedly have ties to movies, television and the arts as well.

In both cities, one of the most prominent occupations listed on Federal Election Commission reports is that of homemaker. In Los Angeles, it is the biggest single category, topping $1 million in 1989-90 contributions; in Manhattan, it is the second-largest category.

In many instances, a husband and wife each are making the maximum $1,000 contribution to the same candidate, or a corporation is collecting personal donations for a single lawmaker from employees and their family members and pooling the money to maximize its impact.

New York's leading individual donors reflect Wall Street's dominance. Lebow gave $57,500; Everett, president of the investment firm Lexington Associates, $54,200, and Jones, who specializes in commodity futures trading, gave $50,000. Jones also has donated $7.5 million to help set up the Robin Hood Foundation, which helps educate youths from poor neighborhoods.

The top political committee beneficiaries in both cities were partisan organizations. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ranks first in the New York districts with $1 million, and fourth in the Los Angeles districts with $443,084. The Republican National Committee is first in Los Angeles with $643,456 and second in New York with $822,227.

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