The San Francisco Chronicle
SACRAMENTO, CA — Tapping some of his usual sources, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has raised at least $640,000 so far for his second inaugural celebration, largely from corporations and business groups that lobby at the Capitol.
The Republican governor’s inauguration committee released a list of 31 initial contributors on Friday.
Most of them are major donors who have given a total of $2.8 million to Schwarzenegger’s campaign committees since he ran for governor in the 2003 recall election.
The committee did not give a breakdown specifying how much each donor contributed to fund the two-day inaugural celebration. But it said five contributors — Adams Steel of Anaheim, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, Chevron Products Co. and Raley’s Supermarkets — had given at least $50,000 apiece.
The other contributors, including the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies, the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, the California Building Industry Association and the California Motor Car Dealers Association, gave at least $15,000.
Schwarzenegger will be sworn in for a second term on Jan. 5 at Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium.
Details of events surrounding the inauguration are still being worked out, but they will include a public event on Jan. 4 and a black-tie, invitation-only party on Jan. 5, said Julie Soderlund, a spokeswoman for the inaugural committee.
She said Schwarzenegger, a multimillionaire, sought private contributions to cover the costs because he didn’t want to saddle taxpayers with the expenses.
But Carmen Balber, a consumer advocate for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a Santa Monica-based group that has been critical of Schwarzenegger’s fundraising, said the governor should have a no-frills inauguration and have taxpayers cover the costs.
“Nobody needs a big party. Nobody needs a black-tie affair,” she said.
She said asking campaign contributors to foot the bill gives them a chance to gain more influence in the governor’s office as he considers health-care reform and other issues that will cross his desk in 2007.
“We see this as the opening curtain for a new year,” she said. “He’s beginning it as he played out the last three years, with big donors buying early access to influence his policies.”
Soderlund said Schwarzenegger “makes decisions based upon what is in the best interest of the people of California. Those who contribute do so because they support his vision for the future of the state.”