While the defeat of Proposition 87 disappointed folks like Robert Redford, Julia Roberts and Ben Affleck, it probably stung producer Steve Bing the most — at least in terms of his wallet.
A real estate heir who has put his money to work financing movies as well as political campaigns, Bing contributed nearly $50 million of his own money to the Yes on 87 campaign, supporting a California ballot initiative that would have taxed oil producers to raise $4 billion for alternative energy research.
But after such an expensive loss, will he continue to be the go-to guy for Democratic fundraising?
Bing himself is notoriously press-shy (“We never comment on anything,” says his rep Paul Bloch). But when Bing spoke with Art Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party two days after the election, he was reportedly in good spirits. “He’s very enthusiastic and spirited. I didn’t notice one negative tone in his voice,” Torres says.
The way Bing sees it, the chair added, the money spent on the Yes on 87 campaign has pushed energy up on the agenda for the newly elected Democratic Congress.
Keeping Bing happy is an important task for Democratic fundraisers since he is one of the most reliable big-ticket check writers. When the DNC was looking to build a new headquarters in D.C. in 2002, Bing ponied up $8 million.