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Oct 09, 2006 - 11:00 AM

Gas Man Pumps Cash Into Arnold's Spare Tank

by Douglas Heller
Less than a month after announcing a $287 million stock offering to raise cash to build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in the Western United States, a company owned by Texas energy mogul T. Boone Pickens pumped a quarter million dollars into Arnold's campaign tank last Wednesday. One week before the contribution arrived, Arnold's bill signing ceremony for the greenhouse gas legislation was met by protesters angry about the Gov's support for LNG projects, which are controversial because of safety and security concerns.

Pickens has already given the Gov more than $650K and millions more have come into Arnold's reelection committee this year. But that's not where last weeks' cash went. Arnold's reelection campaign is constrained by campaign finance laws so donors can only give $22,300. To get around the law, Pickens' company -- Clean Energy of Seal Beach, California -- gave $250k to Arnold's virtually defunct political committee known as the California Recovery Team. During the first nine months of the year, the Recovery team only received 7 contributions, averaging about $15k each. The energy company cash -- 11 times more than campaign finance laws allow donors to give to a candidate -- may mark the beginning of a new round of above-the-limits special interest donations to Arnold. Campaign reform initiative Prop 89 closes that loophole and subjects all committees controlled by politicians to strong contribution limits.

With the IPO expecting to bring in a quarter billion dollar investment in Pickens' energy firm, this quarter million investment in Arnold is slim for Pickens.

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