Monday, August 29, 2005

Spend the Night With Arnold

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is pulling out all the stops to raise money so that he can tout his phony-baloney ballot measures in a special November election.

So far Schwarzenegger has raised close to $30 million this year, while he was supposed to be running the government of the state. In his most recent cross-country foray, Arnold scored $5 million and he is looking forward to weeks of frantic fund raising before November.

Arnold's attempts to connect with everyday Californians, he is obviously far more comfortable chatting up the rich and smoozing with the famous. The Sacramento Bee reports on Arnold's recent activities and plans.

"When you're governor of
California and need a boatload of cash in less than 80 days, you're going to be hanging out with some pretty wealthy people.

Like Rick Cronk, who paid $1 million for Dreyer's Ice Cream in 1977 and merged it with Nestle three years ago in a deal reportedly worth $2.4 billion. He and his wife, Janet, are hosts for a fundraiser for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the East Bay on Sept. 28.

Or Arte Moreno, owner of the Los Angeles Angels, who is throwing a Schwarzenegger fundraiser at the team's game in Anaheim on Tuesday night against the Oakland A's.

Or Michael Milken, the former junk bond guru who spent 22 months in prison for securities violations and is one of the nation's most prolific philanthropists.

Milken and his wife, Lori, were co-hosts at a sumptuous, $25,000-per-couple fundraiser for Schwarzenegger about 10 days ago near Lake Tahoe."

Arnold's fund raising is necessary to avoid embarrassment at the polls in November when a series of initiatives that he launched will be decided upon by a very unenthusiastic electorate. Several of Arnold's measures have angered powerful state unions, including teachers, nurses and firefighters. These unions are already running ad campaigns making Arnold look bad, at a time when he needs to look good to appeal to disgruntled voters.

In his time of need, Arnold had turned to the rich and powerful, including many businesses and individuals from outside the state, who have vested interests in legislation that will pass before the governor.

"He clearly gets donations from people who have business before the state and who are regulated by the state," said Larry Noble, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics.

"These are people who want to be close to the governor and they're buying access. Their business interests are tied up with his political agenda. And when he spends a lot of time raising money from wealthy donors, their interests are going to be the focus of discussions and he's going to be thinking about that when he makes decisions, no matter what he says."

No contribution is too small and no favor is impossible for Arnold. Take one of his contributors at his recent Lake Tahoe event.

"The principal sponsor of the Lake Tahoe event, for instance, was Larry Ruvo, a wealthy Nevada liquor wholesaler who gave Schwarzenegger $53,000. Ruvo also has been trying for several years to build a pier on his private Lake Tahoe property. One agency that could help determine the project's fate is the California-Nevada Regional Planning Agency; Schwarzenegger has two appointments to the agency's 15-member governing board."

As the Los Angeles Times reported last week, Schwarzenegger is also pulling in staggering amount of money from non-profit organizations that are exempt from campaign disclosure requirements. Organizations like this pay the governor's expenses and provide instant cash for campaign activities.

"One group controlled by a powerful corporate consultant pays the $6,000-a-month rent on a Sacramento hotel suite used by the governor, who is a multimillionaire. Others have funded media events and political rallies featuring Schwarzenegger and helped pay for his foreign travel. So far, five tax-exempt groups aiding Schwarzenegger have collected $3 million."

All of these organizations receive donations from major corporations which have vested interests in a vast array of legislation and executive activity over which Schwarzenegger has influence.

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is benefiting from millions of dollars raised by a network of tax-exempt groups without revealing that the money comes from major corporations with business before his office.

The groups are run by Schwarzenegger's closest political allies, who also represent some of
California's biggest interest groups. Unlike the governor's many campaign funds, the nonprofits are not required to disclose their contributors and can accept unlimited amounts."

For a man who said he was going to change the way things were run in
Sacramento, Arnold hasn't kept his word. He has become a bigger crook, but not a better governor. As Democratic campaign strategist Gale Kaufman puts it:

"... here is a man who got elected on the promise that he wouldn't need special interest money and wouldn't take it. He now says he needs it and he'll be happy to take it. How many promises does he get to break before no one believes anything he says?"

Spend the Night With Arnold $1,000 $500 $99 $19.99!