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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.


William E. Bloomfield Jr., Manhattan Beach, CA

Real estate


Win/loss percentage

51 percent

$698,900 to winners, $683,400 to losers

William E. Bloomfield Jr. is the chairman of Baron Real Estate, a company that acquires and manages rental properties throughout the country. Bloomfield created the company in 2003 from the real estate holdings of Web Laundry Services, where he worked for more than 30 years and last held the position of CEO. In 1947, Bloomfield’s mother and father started Web, now called WASH Multifamily Laundry Systems, which manages coin-operated laundry sites. Bloomfield has been an active fundraiser for Republican candidates. He raised money for John McCain’s presidential bid and was a state co-chairman of the Republican National Committee’s 2008 Victory Finance Committee, which raised money for McCain’s campaign. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Total contributions: $2,231,000

61 donations: 34 to candidates, 12 to ballot measures and 15 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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