The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on Governor Schwarzenegger to reach into his own pocket to pay the state's legal costs for his illegal roll back of patient protection regulations and to pay travel expenses for this weekend's personal business trip and out-of-state campaign events.
"California cannot afford the governor's frivolous use of taxpayer money for personal business trips, political fundraising, and partisan lawsuits," said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR. "Schwarzenegger told voters he didn't need anyone else's money. It's time for Arnold to put his money where his mouth is and pay his own way."
Schwarzenegger's East Coast trip that begins today includes a stop in Ohio at the "Arnold Fitness Weekend," a private business venture in which Schwarzenegger shares in the proceeds, and several East Coast campaign events. According to news reports, taxpayer money will fund the trip including a California Highway Patrol advance team and travel expenses for support staff.
"The governor is spending taxpayer money for his own gain and to fund a to trip to sell California to Wall Street which is poised to profit from the gov's plan to privatize public retirement funds," said Flanagan. "Schwarzenegger's weaknesses are starting to show: he got his butt kicked by nurses and he has been forced to leave the state to raise money for his special interest special election."
A tentative court ruling issued yesterday overturned Governor Schwarzenegger's repeal of patient protection rules guaranteeing that hospitals have enough nurses on duty, and admonished the governor for misuse of executive powers. FTCR called on the governor to personally pay the cost of the state's legal fees and those incurred by the California Nurses Association which brought the lawsuit to defend the patient protection rules. A final court ruling will be issued today.
Schwarzenegger will hold a fundraising dinner in New York on Tuesday at the 21 Club as part of a six day fundraising drive including events in Cincinnati, Columbus, New York and Washington D.C. The governor recently announced he would raise $50 million from big industry to support his ballot initiatives including, presumably, from Wall Street financiers who will profit from the governor's plan to turn public pensions into 401(k) accounts. For copies of invitations to these high-priced fundraisers go to: http://arnoldwatch.org/political_reform/marchforcash.pdf
FTCR has launched an Internet petition campaign: "Governor, Please Stop the Fundraising," in response to Schwarzenegger's recent remarks stating that the public does not care that he has broken campaign promises to not take money from special interests. Schwarzenegger has raised $40 million from big industry -- about $80,000 each day -- twice as much as Governor Gray Davis, who he replaced for being a cash register politician. The online petition is available at: http://www.arnoldwatch.net/fundraisingpetition/
A recent poll showed that an overwhelming majority of California voters oppose the $70 million cost of a November special election proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger for his special interest ballot initiatives.
To read web logs chronicling Schwarzenegger's pandering to his big industry contributors go to: http://www.Arnoldwatch.org which is run by FTCR.
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California's leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information, visit us on the web at http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org