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Jul 15, 2005 - 05:30 PM

Coming Clean

by Douglas Heller and Carmen Balber
Arnold did the right thing this afternoon by severing his multi-million dollar contract with the muscle mags. But the fact that Arnold's team defiantly defended the deal yesterday indicates he's more concerned about a source of bad press than the conflict of interest that caused public outrage. He skirted that bad press for more than a year and made the conflict worse when he lied about the deal, revealing an arrangement for charitable contributions by the magazines in '04 but withholding the fact that he was also personally making millions from the magazines' sale of dietary supplement ads.

So, just cutting the contract doesn't do the trick. If he wants Californians to trust that his decisions are made in the public interest and not because he's getting paid on the side, Arnold must:

1. Return any money that he has already received for selling diet supplement ads - at least $1.5 million.

2. Provide a more detailed explanation of all his income, including the money received from the other 20 companies that were listed with the muscle mags as income earned through his corporate shell, Oak Productions, as well as other sources of income that he aggregates in his ethics filings.

3. Do what President Bush and most other politicians do and make his tax returns public. The citizens of California have a right to know where Arnold gets his money each year to determine if he is being unduly influenced as a result of other secret business deals.

4. Immediately revisit the law regulating the supplement industry that he vetoed last year while receiving income from their advertising.

If the gov won't come clean, the Legislature should subpoena his records to determine if there are other contracts that force Arnold to choose between the public interest and his personal enrichment. There's no such thing as being a little anabolic.

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