Arnold is claiming victory
over the special interests today in the wake of results from his five
main initiative campaigns. In those battles, he had $86 million on his
side. It’s incredible how much money Arnold can raise to take on the
But aside from the fact that Arnold’s positions were right in line with
his big corporate donors, especially on Props 64 and 72, there is
another thing wrong with Arnold’s bold claims. In these initiative
battles, Arnold did not slay the special interests, he relied on them.
In order to defeat Props 66 (3 strikes) and 68 and 70 (related to
gambling), Arnold had to transfer $7,556,763 to those campaigns
($2,071,700.44 to No on 66 and $5,485,063 to No on 68/70) from his own
campaign committee (Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery
Team). That amount is almost exactly what Arnold received from special
interest donors during the last two months of the campaign, when he
raked in $7.9 million from the likes of mortgage lender Ameriquest, a
Wal-Mart director, and a quarter million donation from Fox News
affiliate, News America Inc.
Those corporate special interests, whose money was funneled to defeat
66, 68 and 70 do not care about the state’s three strikes law or where
Californians go to play the slots. They gave to Arnold in his time of
need (he needed money to defeat these initiatives) because, as Arnold
has so properly explained while campaigning to be governor, "Any of
those kinds of real big, powerful special interests, if you take money
from them, you owe them something."
So, while boasting of his conquest of the special interests, not only
did Arnold stump on behalf of initiatives led by the likes of Wal-Mart,
Philip Morris, oil companies and HMOs, he woke up this morning with
millions of dollars in political debts to a bunch of lobbyists and
executives who can’t wait for Arnold to help them take on the next
batch of "special interests."