Furry Little Arnold

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In the weeks leading up to the
November election Governor Schwarzenegger took cues from the savviest
of woodland creatures: he stocked up for the winter. The Gov. took
$500,000 from real estate mogul and developer Alex Spanos, $100K from
The Home Depot, $750K from mortgage lender Ameriquest Capital, $250K
from the parent company of Fox News Channel and $1.5 million from tech
billionaire Henry Nicholas. Based on the latest public reports, Arnold
will have millions to put in his burrow for the next political season.
ArnoldWatch has just released the new Arnold’s Top 100 donors and an
updated chart of his top donors by industry, available at: http://www.arnoldwatch.org/special_interests/index.html

These recent mega-contributions are particularly noteworthy because, as
of Nov. 2nd, Arnold is no longer allowed to sidestep voter-enacted
contribution limits through creative financing schemes. Last June, the
Fair Political Practices Commission approved a rule change requiring
that all campaign committees controlled by a politician be subject to
the same contribution limits applied to their regular candidate
committees. The limit for donations to the Governor is $21,200.

The FPPC decided not to put this rule into effect until after the
election, allowing Arnold to continue raising above-limits
contributions including the millions noted above. The decision to hold
off on this rule probably made the difference in a number of initiative
battles this past election. The question now is whether Arnold will try
to circumvent the new rules or if he’ll respect the voters’ limits on
political fundraising. Today, gubernatorial fundraiser Marty Wilson
said the Gov. would comply with the rules, because: "We don’t have the
pressure to raise the kind of money in 2005 that we did in 2004." But
earlier this year Arnold’s attorney Charles Bell cynically dismissed
the rule change: "When you look at a piece of swiss cheese it does have
holes in it."

What happens when the 2006 ballot initiative season comes around? Will
Arnold use those holes to avoid the new rules and squirrel away
millions more? He might open an endless string of new committees to
allow contributors to give $21,200 multiple times. He could ask donors
to give money to committees he doesn’t officially control, like the
California Republican party, the Chamber of Commerce PAC or other
ostensibly independent political committees. Arnold has also created a
series of private political charities into which he can funnel money
without having to disclose a dime. Of course, the public might just
smell a rat if the governor elected to clean up cash register politics
sweeps the new rules under the rug.

Read more at http://www.ArnoldWatch.org

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdoghttps://consumerwatchdog.org
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