Prop 89 Cleans Up Corruption of Money In Politics
Los Angeles, CA — “Air Force 89,” an airplane pulling a banner that read “Prop 89: End of the Line For Big Donors,” circled above an Arnold Schwarzenegger fundraiser where donors paid up to $100,000 a plate in Brentwood this morning, as campaign finance reform advocates protested the governor’s first public comments relating to Prop 89.
Advocates handed out bars of soap emblazoned with Prop 89 to donors — arriving in Rolls Royces, Mercedes Benz, stretch limousines and Hummers — who carried the “clean elections” soap inside. Advocates unsuccessfully tried to buy their way into the fundraiser with a briefcase containing more than $200,000 in Monopoly money after Governor Schwarzenegger, spotted entering the party, refused to come out and discuss the initiative.
Schwarzenegger has raised $93,167,000 since announcing his candidacy for governor in 2003 and declaring his intention to clean up special interest influence in politics.
The governor told an audience at the Commonwealth Club yesterday that he “is not in favor of public financing of elections.” See the California Progress Report: http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2006/07/breaking_news_s.html.
The protest highlighted the cash register calculations that dominate Governor Schwarzenegger’s policy decisions, and the actions of California politicians as a whole, and marked the need for public financing of campaigns and stricter campaign contribution limits as proposed under Proposition 89.
“Donors who pay a $100,000 for a lunch expect more than rubber chicken in return,” said Carmen Balber of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). “Prop 89 will recall the status quo of corruption and return political power to California voters.”
Former president George Herbert Walker Bush was a featured guest at the fundraising luncheon, held at the home of Grove shopping center developer Rick Caruso. Another plane will fly above the governor’s Bay Area fundraiser with Bush this evening in Hillsborough. Read the invite at: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/corporate/rp/6561.pdf.
“The governor who was going to end the influence of special interests in the Capitol has opened the front door for them instead. Californians have $93 million reasons — every dollar Schwarzenegger has raised from big-money donors — to pass Prop 89 and shut off the spigot of dirty money in Sacramento,” said Balber.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights launched the new website, http://www.DirtyMoneyWatch.org, yesterday to chronicle the pay-to-pay politics in California that the passage of Proposition 89 will end.
Proposition 89 establishes a system of public financing for candidates who reject private money and sets tougher limits on contributions from corporations, unions and private individuals. It also closes current campaign finance loopholes and strives to reduce the influence of professional lobbyists.
A summary of Proposition 89‘s main provisions:
– Public funding for candidates who agree not to take private money for their campaigns. To qualify for the funds, candidates must collect a set number of $5 contributions.
– Participating candidates may receive additional matching funds of up to five times the original amount of funding to compete equally with independent expenditures, or expenditures by wealthy and other privately-funded opponents.
– Contribution limits that apply across the board to corporations, unions, and individuals: no more than $500 per election cycle to individual legislative candidates, $1,000 for statewide offices, $1,000 to so-called independent expenditure committees, $7,500 to political parties and aggregate total limits of $15,000 per year per donor to all candidates and committees that seek to influence the election of candidates.
-A ban on contributions to candidates by lobbyists and state contractors.
– Corporate treasury donations capped at $10,000 per ballot measure. Additional contributions from both unions and corporations on initiatives must be made through political action committees.
– Funding generated by a 0.2% increase in the corporation tax rate from 8.84% to 9.04% — a figure lower than it was from 1980 to 1996.
– Extensive public disclosure requirements.
– Strong enforcement provisions, including removing those who cheat the system from office.
See http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/advocacy/cleanelections and http://www.YesOn89.org for more information about Proposition 89.
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