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Jun 09, 2006 - 03:20 PM

The Real Test For Arnold 2.0

by Jamie Court and Carmen Balber
Arnold is basking in the glow of reviews of his bi-partisan rebirth, but the real test for Schwarzenegger is coming soon. Is Arnold 2.0 still being programmed by the cash-rich special interests financing his campaign?

Oil companies have contributed $2.3 million to Arnold, more money than they have given to any other politician in the nation but the President. Yesterday the California Assembly Speaker and Attorney General announced legislation to rewrite gasoline price gouging laws for easier prosecutions. But on the campaign bus, Arnold said, "I cannot personally do anything about the gas prices." What will Arnold do with the Nuņez bill? Will the report of his California Energy Commission on high gas prices, due out next week, be another whitewash for the industry? Stay tuned.

The gov has also collected $216,400 from drug companies since April, including $49,600 on Monday, bringing his total take from the industry since taking office to over $1 million. What will Arnold 2.0 do with a pair of modest bills opposed by the drug industry, AB 2911 (Nuņez) and SB 1702 (Perata), which would establish a drug discount program for lower income Californians?

Then the insurers, who've already given Arnold $2.4 million, keep pouring in the cash. Last year Arnold vetoed bills opposed by insurers on the exact same day that they donated more than a $100K. This year will the Gov help insureds or insurers?

The real test of Arnold's upgrade is not whether he's cozying up to Democrats, but whether he's pandering to donors.

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