Like other financial backers of Los Angeles mayoral candidates James K. Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa, these donors are lawyers and land developers, cable television operators and gas companies, insurance brokers and homemakers.
But there is one thing they aren't: Californians. And many aren't eager to discuss their contributions.
"It's publicly disclosed, and we don't provide any additional comment," Tim Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania-based Comcast cable firm, said of the $4,000 the company and its executives have given Hahn. Comcast has franchises with the city.
Out-of-state residents and corporations have donated generously to the two contenders in the May 17 election, with challenger Villaraigosa receiving about $535,000 and incumbent Hahn getting roughly $412,000, according to the city's Ethics Commission.
Money from outside California amounts to about 10% of the candidates' total contributions for the primary and general election campaigns.
The role of non-California cash in the mayoral contest has grabbed the spotlight because of disclosures that employees and their relatives at two Florida companies gave $47,000 to Villaraigosa, a fact Hahn has highlighted in campaign ads.
After news reports that some of the donors seemed confused about the contributions or had difficulty explaining them, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley launched a preliminary inquiry into whether the money was laundered.
Villaraigosa has promised to return the $47,000.
Campaign coin from beyond the Golden State's borders is nothing new in mayoral politics. And a sampling of interstate gifts in this year's race finds that many have come from people and companies with business interests in the Los Angeles area -- another echo from the past.
"It's not surprising," said Peter Dreier, an Occidental College politics professor. "L.A. is a global city, and people do a lot of business in L.A. who aren't from L.A."
Corporate contributors from beyond the state line have favored both candidates. Villaraigosa has done particularly well raising out-of-state money from Latinos, the informal sample shows.
"I just want good government for L.A.," said Domingo Garcia, a Texas attorney and former state legislator who once ran for Dallas mayor.
He and his wife, Dallas City Councilwoman Elba Garcia, have given $1,000 each to Villaraigosa. Domingo Garcia's office manager also has sent $1,000. In most circumstances, a Los Angeles ordinance limits contributions to each candidate to $1,000 per donor per election cycle.
"I've known him about 10 years," Domingo Garcia said of Villaraigosa, adding that the donations carry "no consideration of any type of payback."
New York investor Leo Hindery, a former cable and telecommunications titan, said the same through a spokesman. Hindery, who briefly headed Global Crossing before the fiber-optic company became mired in an accounting scandal and bankruptcy, has given $8,000 to Villaraigosa. In 2003, he contributed $1,000 to Hahn.
In addition to backing Villaraigosa, Hindery is finance chairman for New York mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer.
"I'm proud to be supporting two dear friends who also happen to be the strongest candidates for mayor in the country's two largest cities," Hindery said in a prepared statement.
Most of the out-of-state check-writers would not discuss their largess. "I'm really not interested in talking," said Dianne Angstrom, a New York homemaker who has given $1,000 each to Hahn and Villaraigosa. She then hung up the phone.
Several dozen contributors did not return calls, including Dallas Cowboy football player Keyshawn Johnson, a former USC Trojan who has given $1,000 apiece to Hahn and Villaraigosa.
Johnson has been a key player in the Marlton Square redevelopment project in the Crenshaw district, which the city agreed to grant $38 million in subsidies.
Seven attorneys for the New York law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, who together have ponied up $5,500 for Hahn, did not respond to interview requests or declined to comment.
David Lugar, a vice president for AmeriGas Propane of Pennsylvania, also would not speak about its $1,000 donation to Hahn. "It's our corporate policy," he said. AmeriGas has a storage terminal in San Pedro, the mayor's hometown.
Peter Breitstone, who runs a New York insurance company with his mother, Frances Breitstone, was more forthcoming about their twin $1,000 gifts to Hahn. "There is not a lot of magic to it," he said with a laugh. "We have clients in L.A."
Ernest Sawyer, a Chicago development consultant who has contributed $250 to Villaraigosa, said: "We support candidates all across this country because we do business all across the country." He said he sent the money after his son, Mark Sawyer, a UCLA political science professor, held a reception for Villaraigosa.
Vulcan Inc., a Seattle investment and development company owned by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, donated $1,000 to Hahn at the behest of the DreamWorks SKG film studio, said Vulcan spokesman Steven Crosby.