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Sep 20, 2004 - 03:15 PM

Marty's Messy Money & Mailers

by Jamie Court and Doug Heller
When politicians defend their fundraising habits, they promise never to mix talk of campaign cash and policy positions. Now Arnold has introduced a new twist:

In the interest of making sure he doesn't mix cash and policy, the Gov has handed off the task of managing both his fundraising and his policy on ballot initiatives to the same person -- Marty Wilson. (I'm not mixing money and policy... My consultant is.)

Wilson, who has been collecting cash for Arnold all year, is also running the new $2 million slate mailing operation to let every Californian know Arnold's ballot initiative picks. And when Arnold recently announced support for Prop 64 (limits on enforcement of unfair competition laws) and opposition to Prop 72 (requiring large employers to pay for health coverage) -- the same positions as the donors who Wilson has been cultivating -- it was Marty Wilson's name and phone number at the top of the press release ready to explain the gov's positions.

Now Wilson may be able to use both sides of his brain efficiently, but it's hard to imagine that Arnold's money man has a mental firewall separating contributors to the gov and their positions on ballot initiatives. It looks like the governor who ran as the anti-politician has just done politicians one better -- he's created the most lucrative pay-for-slate operation in California.

A word of caution though. Marty has been at the center of a few other messes, such as consultant to the indicted Reliant Energy during California's electricity crisis and as the guru who dreamed up the disgraced Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush's creative marketing plan for himself... the one that forced his resignation when insurance companies were squeezed for dollars to fund the plan in exchange for less regulation.

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