Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti is neck-and-neck with City Controller Wendy Greuel in the fundraising race for next year's mayoral campaign.
According to records filed with the city's Ethics Commission on Tuesday, the two candidates have each raked in more than $2.2 million since the campaign began, with Garcetti outpacing Greuel by a mere $322.31.
The candidates are vying to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who must step down next summer because of term limits. Other contenders in the race include City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has raised roughly half the amount collected by Garcetti and Greuel, and former federal prosecutor Kevin James, who has raised one-tenth of that amount.
The individual donors drew extra scrutiny this fundraising period after Garcetti and Greuel pledged not to take money from Wal-Mart, which has drawn fierce opposition from labor unions as it attempts to expand in Los Angeles.
When Garcetti filed his list of contributions last week, he reported a $100 donation from Wal-Mart's director of community affairs, Javier Angulo.
Garcetti spokesman Bill Carrick initially said the campaign would not return the money because the pledge applied to donations from the company, not its employees. But Tuesday he reversed course, saying the campaign would give the money back because it had become a "distraction."
"We're just moving on so everybody can talk about more important things than this $100," Carrick said.
Angulo also gave to Greuel, who released her fundraising total Tuesday. Greuel returned Angulo's $250 contribution in June.
Meanwhile, Greuel has raised nearly $13,400 from lawyers with Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, a firm that is registered to lobby City Hall on behalf of Wal-Mart. Garcetti received $2,750 from the firm.
Dave Jacobson, a spokesman for Greuel's campaign, said the firm represents a wide range of clients. The individuals who gave are not registered city lobbyists, he added. "Wendy Greuel's campaign has not accepted a single dime from Wal-Mart, employees of Wal-Mart or registered city lobbyists representing Wal-Mart," Jacobson said.
The reports offered other insights into the candidates' financial support.
Garcetti received a big chunk of money from the entertainment industry, including more than $12,000 from Warner Bros. employees and nearly $9,000 from workers at Creative Artists Agency, a talent agency.
Greuel picked up nearly $6,000 from employees of Latham & Watkins, a law firm with 40 lobbying clients at City Hall, including shopping mall owner Westfield and Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is seeking to build a downtown football stadium. Latham employees contributed $2,500 to Garcetti.
Greuel received financial backing from an array of people from Villaraigosa's camp, including Villaraigosa Deputy Chief of Staff Janelle Erickson, former deputy mayor Sean Clegg and Villaraigosa's transportation advisor Richard Katz.