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How Much From Special Interests?

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Sacramento Bee
Feb 05, 2004 - 01:00 AM

by Bee Editorial Staff

Editorial: Truly unmitigated

Schwarzenegger, alas, puts Davis to shame
There is something truly majestic about Arnold Schwarzenegger's gall.

This is the guy who ran for governor saying that he was not like Gov. Gray Davis and promising that he was beyond the reach of special interests.

Now, less than three months into his first term as governor, he has come up with a campaign fund-raising scheme that is so slimy it makes Davis' efforts seem downright wholesome.

Schwarzenegger plans to hold a dinner in New York later this month. The guests will be leaders of the nation's biggest financial institutions. For $50,000 each, they will get to chow down with the governor. (Real players are being encouraged to buy a table for 10, which works out to $500,000. Apparently, volume discounts do not apply.)

Schwarzenegger will use that money to bankroll his campaign to pass a $15 billion bond issue. If voters approve the bonds, the same financial moguls who put up the money will stand to profit handsomely from the bond sales.

If Davis had tried such a stunt, he would have been run out of Sacramento even sooner than he was. Schwarzenegger apparently assumes he can get away with it.

Maybe he can. He's a man with an impressive ability to create his own reality and make others live in it with him.

He loses a court case, then praises the judge's decision as "fantastic." He shamelessly refers to his proposal as "debt reduction bonds," as if it's possible to borrow your way out of debt. He promotes physical fitness through a haze of cigar smoke.

Now, he wants Californians to believe not only that borrowing $15 billion is a good way to get out of debt, but also that it's OK to finance the campaign by shaking down those who will profit from the deal.

If Governor Gall can get away with that, he can get away with anything.




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