Cancelling the Date with Arnold’s Johnson

Published on

February 6, 2004

Re: Why You Must Cancel Your New York Fundraiser

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

The $500,000 question is why would New Yorkers pay one half million
dollars per person to influence a California ballot initiative at your
fundraiser later this month in the home of Robert Wood Johnson IV? Just
one answer to that question requires you to cancel this event.

Johnson is the heir to pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s
fortune and the pharmaceutical industry has a great deal of business
with you.

An audit conducted by the Bush Administration’s Department of Health
Services shows pharmaceutical companies owe California $1.3 billion in
overdue rebates for prescription drugs purchased by the state Medi-Cal
program. State health officials failed to collect the rebates that
pharmaceutical companies owed under a 1990 federal law that requires
drug makers to sell prescription drugs to state health programs at a
reduced rate. Your own audit of state finances conducted by Donna
Arduin made no mention of the rebates or the federal audit. At the same
time, your 2004-2005 budget would reduce state funding for health care
programs for the children and the poor by $900 million. You have a
choice to collect $1.3 billion from Mr. Johnson’s colleagues, his
company and his industry, on the one hand, and to cut health care for
poor children and families on the other.

The public must not perceive that Mr. Johnson’s sponsorship of the most
expensive fundraiser in the history of the world will have influenced
your decision on this budget matter or on other legislation the
pharmaceutical industry lobbies in the state. Among the industry’s
biggest worries now are legislation to allow bulk purchasing of
prescription drugs and to allow re-importation of cheaper drugs from

You have already received campaign contributions of $21,200 from
Johnson & Johnson, $21,200 from Novartis and $20,000 from Allergan.
But a $500,000 per person ask from pharmaceutical companies, attorneys
for bond houses, and others on Wall Street with an interest in buying a
piece of California’s future is beyond the pale.

You told California voters you didn’t need any one’s money and that you
will make decisions for the people. Even a salesman as successful as
you cannot make this pledge stand if this fundraiser goes forward. You
shouldn’t be selling California to New York. Cancel it.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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