99. Laura Mahoney
Only one reporter got a 48-hour heads-up on the deal to dismantle the nation’s only elected tax board. And Laura Mahoney, current president of the Sacramento Press Club, certainly earned that scoop. The longest-serving member of the capitol press corps that you’ve never heard of, Mahoney has spent 20 years on the Board of Equalization beat for Bloomberg BNA. That focus combined with her coverage of health care, labor, campaign finance, pensions, privacy and other wonky topics to sharpen her inquiries. Respected and feared by BOE insiders, Mahoney’s investigative reporting and a scathing Finance Department audit spurred the Legislature and governor to make sweeping changes to California’s tax agency on July 1. Her 2010 series revealed a correlation between campaign contributions from taxpayers and positive BOE outcomes. And then in 2015 she uncovered behested payments made to pet interests of a BOE member by taxpayers with business before the board. Mahoney’s breakout year earned her this spot among the capitol’s top influencers.