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Jan 05, 2004 - 01:15 PM

Insuring Success for Team Arnold

by Doug Heller
Just before Christmas Arnold created a new fundraising committee that can receive above-the-limit contributions from big corporations, despite the state's campaign finance limits. The committee, called "Governor Schwarzenegger's California Recovery Team," was established to support the Governor's ballot measures.

A list of donors to the new committee makes it clear that this cash is not for the Governor's much-touted budget initiatives that are on the March ballot, but for a proposed initiative submitted last week that is based on the governor's proposal and would alter California's workers' compensation insurance system. The nearly $200K given to the "Recovery Team" comes from only six contributors, five of which are major out-of-state insurance companies representing some of the largest workers' compensation insurers in the nation.*

The insurers want a chunk of the state's huge workers' comp market, which is currently dominated by the California State Compensation Insurance Fund. But these out-of-state firms only want to sell insurance to California businesses if it is entirely on the industry's terms: no regulation, a major weakening of the rights of workers to file claims and limits on the amount insurance companies have to pay out to injured workers generally.

Hence, the oversized donations to Arnold. And right on cue, less than two weeks after the money began to flow to Anold's initiative fund, the pro-insurance industry initiative appeared.

It seems that the real reason the Gov's committee is called the Recovery Team is that he is going to help out-of-state insurance companies recover major profits from California businesses.

It should be noted, that Arnold still seems to claim that he is not receiving "special interest" donations. ArnoldWatch dares the Gov to explain how these out-of-state mega-insurance companies represent anything other than special interests.

*In addition to these recent donations from workers' compensation insurance giants such as The Hartford, Continental Casualty and Travelers, Arnold accepted $100K from the nation's largest private workers' comp firm, AIG, in November.

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