The list included Eli Broad, Richard Blum and the man behind CIRM's Sacramento lobbying firm. The rankings did not include elected officials, such as the governor, who is a good friend of the California stem cell agency.
Ranked No. 5 was Broad, the Los Angeles billionaire businessman who has funded stem cell research at UCLA, USC and UC San Francisco with tens of millions of dollars. In the 2007-08 election cycle, he spent nearly $1 million on political efforts. "If money talks, then everybody listens to Eli...," the newspaper reported.
Ranked No. 6 was Steve Merksamer of the firm of Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, which is the Sacramento lobbyist for CIRM. Merksamer was one of its founding partners. The firm has been on retainer with CIRM since the agency's earliest days and currently has a $49,200-a-year contract with the agency for its services, which CIRM coyly describes as "public education." Capitol Weekly said Merksamer is "is one of the state’s most influential political-legal players. His 16-lawyer firm is involved in a myriad of political issues and dispenses legal advice and political strategy to a national and international big-business clientele."
Ranked No. 14 was Blum, chairman and president, Blum Capital, a major equity investment management firm. Blum is a University of California regent as is Sherry Lansing, a member of the board of directors of CIRM. Blum is also the husband of Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Blum Capital Partners purchased $1 million in bond anticipation notes to help fund CIRM in 2006.
The list of 50 is the first installment in a Top 100 count, with more "influence peddlers, power brokers and political players" to come next week.Sphere: Related Content