California lawmakers use Lady Gaga to attract campaign cash
The two state lawmakers will be at Staples Center on Sunday night to see Lady Gaga in concert. They are holding a joint campaign fundraiser at the event, with a $3,900 VIP contribution also including a hotel room for the night. Calderon, a Montebello resident, is raising money for his 2014 state controller campaign while Lara, who lives in Bell Gardens, is hoping to bring in cash for his reelection to the Senate.
It may seem strange that middle-age politicians normally found in suits and ties would be caught at the concert of a performer whose wild costumes have included slabs of meat. But apparently she has some attraction for the jaded pols.
For Calderon, 55, this is his second time seeing Lady Gaga in concert. In 2011, he received two tickets worth $392 from BP America for a Lady Gaga concert in Sacramento, according to his annual report on gifts. Assemblyman Bob Weickowski (R-Freemont), who is 57, also reported accepting a $151 ticket to the same Lady Gaga concert, from AT&T. Then Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, 46, held a fundraiser at that same concert, which the performer called the Lady Gaga Monster Ball.
Lara, 38, said he likes Lady Gaga's anti-bullying message and her encouragement for young people to be themselves. "Who isn't a fan of Lady Gaga?"' Lara said, "I like her music. I like to dance once in awhile.'' Asked whether Calderon is a fan of the singer, an aide would only say said "He likes pop music."
One Capitol insider noted that, in the case of fundraisers, lawmakers don’t have to be fans of a musician as long as their concerts attract campaign contributors.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Singer Lady Gaga is pictured in Times Square to start the ball drop in 2011. Credit: Charles Sykes/Associated Press