They may both be Republicans, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be having better luck wooing checks from Hollywood than President George W. Bush.
Bush made a virtually unannounced and lightning quick fund-raising trip to Bel Air on Tuesday. (Many commuters no doubt learned of the presidential presence when the motorcade snarled Westside traffic during rush hour, including at one point shutting down the 405.)
Fund-raiser held at the home of Robin and Elliott Broidy raised more than $1 million for the Republican National Committee. And though Schwarzenegger was in town Tuesday, he did not drop by, explaining at one point, “President Bush is coming out here not to help California but to do fund-raising in California. So there’s no reason for me to meet with him.”
While Bush has found financial supporters in the entertainment industry before, the closest tie to Hollywood for the event appeared to Robin Broidy, though that itself was tenuous. Starting in 1987, she worked at 20th Century Fox, where she used her professional name, Robin Rosenzweig. When she ankled in 1996, she was senior veep in the studio’s international homevid division.
The Broidys — Elliott runs a venture capital firm, while on recent campaign contribution forms, Robin lists herself as a homemaker — are generous political donors to both parties. In addition to their support of Bush, Mrs. Broidy donated $179,000 to Democratic state comptroller Steve Westly’s failed bid to challenge Schwarzenegger in this year’s gubernatorial election.
Her support attracted notice when CalPERS, the state employee pension fund, invested $50 million into a fund that Mr. Broidy was putting together to invest in Israeli infrastructure projects. Both Westly and Broidy said the CalPERS investment was independent of Mrs. Broidy’s contributions.
While Los Angeles may be seen as the bluest of blue-state America, and Hollywood sometimes lives up to its reputation as a Democratic Party ATM, Bush’s fund-raising swing is an important reminder that there’s plenty of other money in L.A. — and Bel Air — that didn’t come from movies and TV.
Last October, Bush headlined another fund-raiser in Bel Air, raising $1 million for the Republican Party. Few in Hollywood are likely familiar with the name of the host: Robert Day, chairman of asset management firm TCW Group, and according to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s tally, the 12th wealthiest person in L.A. with a net worth of $3 billion.