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How Much From Special Interests?

The Foundation For Taxpayer and Consumer Rights

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Sep 30, 2008 - 02:00 PM

Governor must make new contribution disclosures

by Carmen Balber
 
Anthony York at the Capitol Weekly has found some brand new disclosures about donors to the governor thanks to a regulation passed by the FPPC earlier this year.

The governor's office is now required to disclose money spent on the governor by the California State Protocol Foundation – a non-profit that has refused to reveal the source of contributions it has used to fund the governor's travel and events all around the world. The group took contributions totaling $180,000 from eight companies and groups to fund the Border Governors' Conference. It spent $36K of that money on travel and expenses for 41 members of the governor's staff. It's unclear where the rest of the money went. Or why the gov needed 41 staffers at a conference at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The money includes $10K from Anheuser-Busch, AOL and the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, $25K from Western Union, the CA State Council of Laborers, Capstone Turbine Corporation and the CA Conference of Carpenters, and $50K from the University of Phoenix. (Listed on the gov's website here.) I'm having a hard time figuring out most of these companies' interest in border issues, but several have pieces of legislation on the governor's desk.

Anheuser-Busch, which has given Schwarzenegger another $330,000 since 2003, wants the governor to sign a controversial bill that would allow the beer-maker to expand its marketing campaigns.

Capitol Weekly reports that:


According to records with the Secretary of state's office, AOL was engaged on a dozen bills, including a number of different tax bills and privacy legislation by Sen. Joe Simitian.

The Alliance of Auto Manufacturers lobbied on a number of environmental measures, and was engaged in discussions over Darrell Steinberg's SB 375, which seeks to limit automobile use.  The University of Phoenix lobbied on a half a dozen bills, including one that would effect their schools' ability  to license marriage therapists and a bill by Don Perata that changes the way the school would be regulated.  Western Union lobbied on a budget issue that dealt with money transmitter fees.

We've said it before, but it bears repeating: If the governor and his staff are doing the taxpayers' business, the taxpayers won't have a problem paying the bills. If he can't justify the expense, Governor Schwarzenegger should be paying his own way, not taking gifts from special interests who want something from him.




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