Democrats roll out their big fundraising gun

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The Sacramento Bee

Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton seem awfully chummy as of late, but they still know where their party loyalties lie.

Nearly two weeks after Bush came to California to raise money for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clinton will do the same at a dinner Tuesday for Democratic challenger Phil Angelides in Los Angeles.

Both Schwarzenegger and Angelides are trotting out the big names to raise not only money for their personal campaign coffers but also unlimited amounts of cash for state party accounts. With $22,300 limits in place for the first time in the governor’s race, the parties are playing an even bigger role in the race.

The parties are now spending millions of dollars on commercials that feel like heavy promotion of their candidates — but are considered “issue ads” because they don’t ask viewers to vote for anyone. That allows the parties to fund them with multimillion-dollar checks.

“It was appalling that Schwarzenegger was doing it, and it’s equally appalling that Angelides is playing that game,” said Doug Heller, executive director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which backs an initiative to provide public campaign financing.

Angelides and the Democratic Party plan to hold another fundraiser Aug. 9 at the Sacramento home of restaurateur Randy Paragary with former Lakers basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Consumer Watchdog
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