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Feb 16, 2005 - 04:05 PM

Arnold's Common Cause

by Jamie Court
The Gov is at it again - trying to steal a good guy group's brand - this time it's "Common Cause." Tomorrow he is expected to hold a press conference at 3 PM EST with the group announcing support for a "compromise" model plan on redistricting - a plan very different from the redistricting ballot initiative for which Arnold is fundraising up and down the state. A conversation with staffers at the group confirms Common Cause opposes the redistricting ballot initiatives on file to be circulated for the November special election. They even oppose a key provision of the "compromise" plan that allows mid-decade redistricting. The group is also against Arnold's "no limits" fundraising practices for the November special election - practices being challenged for violating state campaign finance laws.

Arnold has given the legislature only until March 1st to enact any compromise before going to the ballot. There is no time for the model plan to be enacted in the statehouse. And there's no time to file another ballot initiative for a special election in November 2005 (not unless 1 million signatures for a constitutional amendment can be gathered in under 3 weeks.) So what does Arnold have in mind? Another bait and switch. The minute Common Cause endorses any plan of Arnold's, he'll try to steal that legitimacy for a ballot initiative the group does not support by claiming he had Common Cause's backing, but the legislature just wouldn't act, so he had to.

Worse, Arnold's using a redistricting ballot initiative as cover for other initiatives that are red meat to corporate donors who are being asked by the Gov to give six figure contributions to all the initiatives -- in violation of campaign finance laws (see .) Those other initiatives are a wish list for corporate donors -- privatizing public pension funds, eliminating government regulatory bodies, etc.

Will Arnold call off the special election and file the Common Cause plan for a 2006 ballot initiative or will he go ahead with one of the initiatives on file that Common Cause opposes and, through showmanship, steal their brand? If he waits until 2006, though, Arnold will have to abide by strict rules that limit donations (see .) And that's not the common cause he shares with his big industry donors.

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