Los Angeles City Attorney Race Under-the-Radar: A Look at the Money | News & Community

This article is published in collaboration with Crosstown.

The City Attorney position is the second highest elected office in Los Angeles. Yet, as election day approaches, the race for success called Mike Feuer gets little attention. He was overshadowed by the mayoralty game, some tough city council contests, and even a battle to be the next city controller.

In the June primary, progressive candidate Faisal Gill finished first in a field of seven, but with just 24.2% of the vote. Hydee Feldstein Soto, who got 19.9%, squealed in the second round to meet him. Election day is November 8.

The city attorney has a sprawling set of duties: the office drafts legislation, defends the city in lawsuits, can file lawsuits, and prosecute misdemeanors. The position requires not only legal skills, but also high-level managerial skills – the office employs more than 500 lawyers.

During the primary, Gill had $1.5 million at his disposal, according to disclosure statements filed with the city’s ethics commission. That included nearly $1.2 million in personal loans, the city’s largest self-financing effort outside of mayoral candidate Rick Caruso. In the first round, Feldstein Soto raised $393,000 in traditional donations, where the maximum allowable individual contribution is $1,500. She augmented that with a $50,000 personal loan and $267,000 in city matching funds (given to contestants who raise a certain amount through small donations from local residents).

The disparity continues in the second round. Through Sept. 24 (the most recent campaign funding deadline), Gill has reported contributions of $569,000, including an additional $400,000 in personal funds. Feldstein Soto built up a war chest of $335,250, including $75,000 in personal loans.

Here’s more on how their money breaks down during the runoff period.

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Faisal Gill

Gill works as a civil rights attorney. A former Republican now registered as a Democrat, he lost election races in Vermont and Virginia. The current Porter Ranch resident became a candidate for city attorney after representing a black man who filed a racial profiling complaint against the city.

Of the $2.1 million Gill has earned since entering the contest, nearly $1.6 million is his own money.

During the second round’s first submission period, it generated 177 donations, according to revelations from the Ethics Commission (new totals will be revealed this week). This compares to the 497 donations obtained by Feldstein Soto.

A pie chart showing 177 donations for Gill versus 497 for Soto.
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During the runoff period through September 24, Gill raised approximately $170,000 in traditional donations. About $62,000 of that amount came from out-of-state, and some of its top donor zip codes are in Virginia and Texas, according to a financial data dashboard from the Ethics Commission of the State. town. An estimated 36.5% of his donations come from outside of California.

An analysis of publicly available campaign data shows Gill received 89 maximum donations of $1,500, with 18 other contributions of $1,000. Only about 26 donations were $200 or less.

At least 18 of Gill’s donors work in the legal field, according to revelations from the Ethics Commission. 15 others are doctors.

Eleven of these doctors provided maximum donations. Others who finished on top include five people listed as CEOs, three managers from the Woodland Hills Fireplace Barbecue company and Congressman Isaac Bryan’s campaign committee.

Hydee Feldstein Soto

Like Gill, financial lawyer Feldstein Soto has never held public office. She was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has lived in Los Angeles for nearly 40 years. She resides in Mid-City.

Feldstein Soto relies more on small donations than Gill. She has 70 donations of $214. The city’s 6:1 matching fund program, an effort to level the playing field, means that every donation of this amount can generate an additional $1,284. The initial donation and matching total $1,498, close to the maximum contribution of $1,500. (Gill’s personal contributions make him ineligible for matching funds).

Feldstein Soto also attracted 95 donations of $1,500 and 20 of $1,000.

According to documents filed by the Ethics Commission, during the runoff period, she received 95 donations of $100. That compares to 14 for Gill.

A bar chart shows the number of $1,500 donations earned (95 for Soto, 89 for Gill) and $100 donations earned (95 for Soto, 14 for Gill)

At least 70% of the money Feldstein Soto raised from donors during the runoff period comes from inside California. Only about $17,350 is identified as coming from out of state.

Unsurprisingly given her background and the seat she is running for, Feldstein Soto has broad support from those in the legal field. This includes more than 70 attorney donations.

She also has more than two dozen contributions from people in the real estate development industry. Seventeen people whose job title is “consultant” gave him money.

Two dozen attorneys gave Feldstein Soto the highest donation amount of $1,500. She also received maximum contributions from unions representing City of Los Angeles firefighters and Department of Water and Power employees, as well as a political action committee from Planned Parenthood of LA County. Another $1,500 came from someone identified only as “Iris”.

how we did it: We reviewed publicly available campaign finance data from the City of Los Angeles Ethics Commission through September 24, 2022. Some of the data from an ethics commission dashboard may be put up to date and not fully reflected in this article. More information about our data here.

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