When he ran for office, Arnold
proclaimed: "I don't have to take money from anybody. I have plenty of
money." Yesterday he got angry at President Bush for having a Beverly
Hills fundraiser because: "We would have appreciated if he would have
done his fundraising after the Nov. 8 election, because you know we
need now all the money in the world."
Campaigning in the recall, Arnold declared: "Any of those kinds of real
big, powerful special interests, if you take money from them, you owe
them something." Campaign finance records now show that the Gov's early
announcement of his decision to seek re-election has spurred donors to
pour $10 million into his initative campaigns in one month. Chevron's
lobbyist acknowedged in today's Los Angeles Times
that its recent quarter million tribute payment to Arnold's initiatives
was meant to curry favor with the Gov in the future. The lobbyist told
the Times: "Obviously, if he hadn't announced for reelection we would
not have given that contribution." $250K is not a bad premium, after
all, to make sure gas prices stay high and Schwarzenegger continues his
silence on the issue.
There's a "For Sale" sign on the governor's office and the cost of
access is campaign cash for ballot measures that Arnold believes will
help bring back his popularity. As if Californians didn't have enough
reasons to vote No In November, Schwarzenegger's shakedown politics
should top the list.
This week, for example, Schwarzenegger grazed in the Central Valley for
campaign moolah after throwing Big Agriculture huge breaks this
legislative session, including allowing taxpayers to subsidize canned
fruits in a school food program when the original bill included only
"fresh" fruit. Last night, the Stockton Record
reports, Schwarzenegger collected big dough at the home of fruit
processing magnate Bob Smittcamp. He took $250,000 from a Wal-Mart
heiress on the same day he vetoed an insurance benefits bill opposed by
Wal-Mart, according to the Sacramento Bee. Insurers kicked in $105K on the day Arnold sided with them and signed their top legislative priority. He has received another $150,000 from big insurers since the veto.
Perhaps ugliest of all is the Gov's decision to veto bills cracking
down on business tax cheats at the behest of the California Chamber of
Commerce, as the LA Times editorializes today.
It's clearer than ever that a "No" in November is as much about
Schwarzenegger's pay-to-play politics as it is about the bad policies