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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Hollywood shocker: Meg Whitman gets a helping hand from movie biz execs

June 29, 2010 |  3:35 pm

Meg_whitman It's no surprise to see, thanks to this enterprising story in The Wrap, that California's liberal senatorial duchess Barbara Boxer has been scooping up tons of money from Hollywood liberals in recent weeks.

The list just goes on and on, starting with the usual lefty suspects (Barbra Streisand, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg, Paul Haggis and Rob Reiner) but also including a host of less obvious liberals, including (who knew?) Nancy Sinatra, "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, R&B songwriting legend Mike Stoller, director Jan DeBont, actor Kevin Kline, CAA's Bryan Lourd and producer extraordinaire J.J. Abrams. 

But the real shocker comes with the news that Meg Whitman, the former eBay chief who has already spent more than $70 million of her own money in a bid to become California's next governor, is getting a little extra dough from Hollywood -- and not just from conservatives. In fact, one of Whitman's biggest contributors is Sony's Michael Lynton, an outspoken liberal and prominent FOO (Friend of Obama) who gave Whitman $15,900. Whitman, who is running against former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, also got $25,900 from Mike Ovitz, $25,900 from Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, $1000 from former Disney studio chief Dick Cook, $2,000 from Fox 2000's Elizabeth Gabler and $1,000 from Sony executive Doug Belgrad.

As the story points out, Whitman is doing far better when it comes to Hollywood support than Carly Fiorina, who is running for Boxer's Senate seat. Fiorina has almost zero showbiz support, even from such GOP stalwarts as Jerry Bruckheimer, Kelsey Grammar and Jon Voight. According to Republican strategist Adam Mendelsohn, the party has only itself to blame for the lack of contributions, saying that "over the last 10 years, the Republican Party has not done a good job branding itself with Hollywood executives.”

Of course, the always hyper-paranoid Andrew Breitbart, who runs the Big Hollywood conservative website, blames the lack of contributions on -- surprise! -- paranoia. As he told The Wrap, Hollywood conservatives are petrified to speak their mind or give money to conservative causes because they are “fearful of repercussions on their careers.” The story quotes an unnamed Republican consultant as saying that showbiz righties arrange “secret meetings and urge one another not to say anything about them.” Asked how they support their candidates, the consultant said, “They encourage other people to give money.”

I'm not sure how that explains the big money that Whitman is getting from both liberals and conservatives -- or why plenty of top Hollywood conservatives have donated money in the past to a number of Republican presidential candidates. I just think conservatives enjoy the cloak and dagger frisson of secret meetings. It makes them feel oh-so-cool. After all, in the 1930s and '40s, Hollywood communist screenwriters had secret meetings galore, drank lots of booze, drove hot cars and won tons of Oscars. I'm guessing that showbiz conservatives aren't just paranoid. They're jealous too.

Photo: Meg Whitman campaigning at Show Port in South Gate this month. Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times.