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Mar 16, 2006 - 11:50 AM

Raising McCain

by Judy Dugan & Jamie Court
The last time Arnold visited the Beverly Hilton Hotel, it was to declare defeat on all of his ballot initiatives in last November's special election. On Monday he'll return to the hotel to inaugurate his $120 million-plus gubernatorial reelection fund-raising campaign with none other than sometime campaign finance reformer Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona).

Sponsoring the event, according to the invitation, will be 48 donors who have already given Schwarzenegger more than $13 Million -- including developers poised to make dough off Arnold's big bond measure. If McCain is the real McCoy of campaign finance reformers he should be a no-show at the Gov's bash, where the top ticket to get closest to Arnold goes for 100 grand.

In a letter sent today, FTCR called on McCain to terminate his involvement and endorse the clean money elections initiative coming to the California ballot in November.

"Your efforts to reform campaign financing drew the direct line between contributions and influence, and we are disheartened that you would stand by Mr. Schwarzenegger while he collects from his corporate benefactors," said the letter. It quoted Mcain's own statement in 1999 that the campaign finance system "'is nothing less than an elaborate influence peddling scheme in which both parties conspire to stay in office by selling the country to the highest bidder.'"

Arnold is the master of this game, and McCain should not help him play.

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