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May 17, 2007 - 05:10 PM

Quick Route to the Inner Circle

by Carmen Balber
In my shock at the size of Arnold's latest $250,000 contribution, I misread the name of the donor. Bill Powers, not Bill Gross, was the PIMCO donor noted below. It's still Powers' first contribution, according to the Secretary of State, and he's got his hands in the direction of PIMCO bond funds too. As the company website puts it: "Powers is a senior member of PIMCO's Portfolio Management and Investment Strategy groups, and plays a key role in formulating the firm-wide viewpoints that shape every PIMCO portfolio."

Earlier Post:

Bill Gross -- manager of the world's largest bond fund at Newport Beach-based PIMCO -- just catapulted into Arnold's top donor list with a whopping $250,000 contribution at the beginning of May.

This is Gross' first contribution to the gov, and a quick search of campaign contribution records found that he hasn't given a significant donation to any California politicians or causes in the last 8 years. So what prompted such an outsized donation by a non-donor?

Perhaps it was the unprecedented offer of an inside line to the governor's office that sealed the deal. The gov is selling four private meetings and "regular conference calls with the Governor and leading and well-known Californians from the public and private sectors" with a $250,000 price tag to donors who want to become part of the "Governor's Executive Committee". The next meeting is cocktails and dinner at the gov's Brentwood manse.

At the same time, the top item under discussion in Sacramento is the budget, where a big item on the table is Arnold's plan to pay off current bond debt more quickly than scheduled (and free the state up to sell more).

An inside line on that action couldn't be a bad thing if you're managing the world's largest bond fund.

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