George Joseph, Los Angeles, CA
$122,300 to winners, $200,000 to losers
George Joseph is the founder of the Mercury Insurance Group and has pushed heavily for insurance agencies to use ZIP codes rather than driving records as the key indicators to calculate insurance rates. He founded the company as Mercury General in Los Angeles in 1962, targeting customers who had difficulty getting insured. He took the company public in 1980 and is still chairman of the board. In 2010, his company almost entirely funded Proposition 17, which would have allowed insurance providers to offer “persistency discounts” to drivers with a consistent history of coverage and effectively penalize those with a lapse in coverage. It was defeated.
Total contributions: $2,317,300
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.