JJ Abrams and Katie McGrath donate $250,000 to support Bass


Billionaire Rick Caruso has already poured millions of dollars into television advertising and is expected to far outstrip his competitors in the Los Angeles mayoral race.

But supporters of Rep. Karen Bass have created an independent spending committee to help the longtime incumbent compete with Caruso’s fortunes.

The newly formed committee reported raising nearly $270,000 in the past two weeks, according to disclosure forms filed with the city’s Ethics Committee. This group formed last month and is called Communities United for Bass for LA Mayor 2022.

That total included $125,000 each from Hollywood producer and director JJ Abrams and his wife, Bad Robot Productions co-CEO Katie McGrath, according to disclosure documents.

Beginning 90 days before an election, campaigns and independent committees must report donations over $1,000 within 24 hours of receipt. The election is on June 7th.

The committee also has support from DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, a longtime Bass supporter who, according to sources familiar with the matter, has pledged to donate at least $250,000, though his contribution has yet to appear in public records. Katzenberg and some of his key advisers are also helping to call potential donors, the sources said. A representative for Katzenberg declined to comment.

Independent spending committees are prohibited from coordinating campaigns. Donors to independent spending committees are not limited to the $1,500 citywide race limit and can donate as much as they wish.

Abrams and McGrath are longtime Democratic donors who have also given heavily to charities, including the Community Coalition, which Bass co-founded and led before he ran for state assembly. 2015 they have provided a fundraiser for council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who also ran the Community Coalition and is now a major supporter of Bass.

A representative for McGrath and Abrams declined to comment. Spending Committee Chair Morgan Miller did not respond to a request for comment.

“We are a diverse coalition of voters campaigning to elect Karen Bass as our next mayor,” the committee said in a statement. “We are committed to making Los Angeles a better place for everyone and we truly believe that this office cannot be bought by anyone.”

(In a statement, Caruso’s senior campaign adviser Lex Olbrei said, “It’s not surprising that special-interest politicians who have amassed millions from corporate interests are backed by a special-interest Washington, DC, super PAC.)

Abrams and McGrath were some of the many people working in Hollywood who donated directly to Bass’s campaign, which raised nearly $2 million last year after entering the race in September. They included actors Felicity Huffman, Donald Glover and Jennifer Garner — along with Katzenberg, who has recently become more politically involved with homelessness issues, and his wife Marilyn.

Councilor Kevin de León’s bid for mayor is also supported by an independent spending committee, which is composed of a local branch, and has raised $250,000 to support the former state senator and several city council candidates. This committee reported last week expenditure around $35,000 for distributing mailings in support of de León.

Also last week, the ethics committee stated that Caruso had already “made or taken on costs” for his election campaign. Exceed $3.3 million. As a result, other candidates, most of whom have agreed to accept public matching funds for their campaigns, are able to spend larger amounts than before.

Caruso has no shortage of Hollywood support either. He recently hosted an event attended by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and manager Scooter Braun.

Katzenberg has been a major player in national Democratic politics for years and has placed great importance on Hillary Clinton and President Obama. Donation records show that Katzenberg has also donated locally, donating $50,000 to the Campaign for Measure H in 2017, which collected taxes to pay for community services that help Los Angeles County’s homeless population.

A year earlier, he donated $100,000 to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s campaign for Measure M, the half-cent sales tax to support public transit and transportation programs.

In 2013, Katzenberg invested more than $101,000 in efforts to get Wendy Greuel—who worked with him at DreamWorks—elected mayor.

Last summer, ahead of a vote to introduce new anti-camping rules, Katzenberg met with scores of elected local officials and aid workers working on homelessness policies that would allow the city to remove camps located near key public ones Facilities are located, such as libraries and homeless shelters, as housing offers become available. JJ Abrams and Katie McGrath donate $250,000 to support Bass

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