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Jan 19, 2005 - 06:45 PM

Chuck The Fundraiser

by Doug Heller & Carmen Balber
Arnold's chief fundraising guru Marty Wilson has a side-deal with a company doing business with the state. The conflict of interest should force the gov to send Wilson packing. The Canadian CGI-AMS, which was hired by Arnold in a controversial deal last summer, has signed up Wilson's firm (Wilson-Miller Communications) to "persuade [state] department heads to join a struggling procurement program," according to the Associated Press.

CGI-AMS hopes that with Arnold's money man on their side, state agencies that have so far been unimpressed with CGI's services will feel more pressure to acquiesce. It's Pay-to-Play and Play-for-Pay.

First, fundraiser Wilson brought in $25k from CGI-AMS for Arnold and Arnold gave CGI-AMS a huge state contract. Now, Wilson has agreed to use his juice with the gov to help CGI-AMS get more contracts with state agencies (the company's pay is based on the size and number of contracts it arranges).

While this may seem confusing, it's old hat for Wilson. He was one of the idea-men behind the multi-million dollar insurance industry contribution scheme that forced disgraced insurance commissioner Chuck Quackenbush to resign in 2000. Another former Wilson client was the indicted energy firm Reliant, that bilked California taxpayers during the phony energy crisis.

Arnold's recall campaign against Gray Davis accused him of signing pay-to-play contracts in which companies could get plum deals from the state in exchange for contributions. A massive state agreement with software giant Oracle was cancelled after it was revealed that Oracle contributed $25k to Davis. And Gray was forced to fire the fundraiser who took the contribution because the check changed hands in the Capitol building.

There's little California voters frown upon more than blatant conflicts of interest in the governor's office. If Wilson's relationship with the gov leverages state contracts for AGI - and it's hard to believe it won't have an effect - Wilson's violation is far worse than accepting a check in the horseshoe rather than at the Esquire Grill. Arnold should take Gray's lead and fire Wilson.

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