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The Rainmakers: California's top political donors, 2001-2011

Lavishing their largesse on legislators and political committees alike, the largest donors to California politics spent $1.25 billion from 2001 through 2011. The group — 50 special interests and 50 wealthy individuals — spans the Golden State's social order. They are corporate leaders and venture capitalists, real estate developers and Hollywood scions. They are energy and tobacco companies, labor unions and tribal governments. Collectively, they shelled out a third of all the money given to campaigns in the state during the 11-year period. This data includes only contributions to candidates and ballot measure committees, not independent expenditure groups.

20

Ann Howland Doerr, Woodside, CA

Environmental advocacy group

Badges

Win/loss percentage

99 percent

$3,038,625 to winners, $41,200 to losers

Ann Howland Doerr is the wife of Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr. She graduated from Rice University in 1975, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering.  She is a registered Democrat, an environmental activist and a trustee of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund. In addition to political donations, she has made major charitable contributions to educational and environmental organizations.

Total contributions: $3,137,425

34 donations: 25 to candidates, 6 to ballot measures and 3 to parties

List of contributions

Source: Contribution data from National Institute on Money in State Politics

Credits: Interactive by Michael Corey, Coulter Jones and Chase Davis. Reporting by Coulter Jones. Badge design by Thomas Guffey. Additional reporting by Stanford University students enrolled in a Communications Department investigative reporting class under the direction of California Watch Editorial Director Mark Katches. The project began in January 2011. Students participating were: Devin Banerjee, Daniel Bohm, Kathleen Chaykowski, Tom Corrigan, Cassandra Feliciano, Jamie Hansen, Amy Harris, Josh Hicks, Ellen Huet, Julia James, Paul Jones, Ryan Mac, Valentina Nesci, Dean Schaffer, Elizabeth Titus and Kareem Yasin. Bohm, Hansen, Huet, Harris and Titus continued to work on the project as California Watch interns under the direction of Associate Editor Denise Zapata.

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