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Mar 16, 2005 - 01:00 AM
CONTACT: Jerry Flanagan, 310-392-0522 x319
Group Unveils Schwarzenegger's Century Plaza Hotel "Cash Syndicate" of Big Industry Executives
Gov Will Attend Fundraiser Hosted by Syndicate Later TodaySanta Monica, CA -- At a press conference prior to the governor's fundraiser, for which Schwarzenegger is asking as much as $89,200 per couple, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights unveiled the Century Plaza "Cash Syndicate" -- the big industry executives who are hosting Governor Schwarzenegger's fundraiser at the Westin Century Plaza Hotel. The syndicate -- the hosts of tonight's fundraiser -- has already contributed more than $5 million to Schwarzenegger.
To download a mafia-style chart showing pictures, contribution amounts and the corporate affiliations of the big industry executives hosting Schwarzenegger's fundraiser tonight go to: http://arnoldwatch.org/assets/syndicate_poster.gif
"Schwarzenegger's cash syndicate includes car dealers, predatory lenders, and real estate moguls who are raising big bucks for the governor and his initiatives that largely benefit big industry contributors," said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR. "These are not the people Schwarzenegger was elected to represent, they are big industry contributors whose interests do not align with those of the people of California and Schwarzenegger is their godfather."
A ringleader of the syndicate, Roland Arnall is co-Chairman of the Board of Ameriquest Capital Corporation, which is being investigated in 25 states for fraud, falsification of documents and bait-and-switch sales tactics. Arnall and Ameriquest have contributed $1,211,200 to Schwarzenegger and Arnall is listed as a "State Finance Chair" on the invitation for tonight's even. To view the invitation listing Schwarzenegger's Century Plaza cash syndicate go to: http://arnoldwatch.org/assets/century_plaza.pdf
Consumer advocates provided detailed information about who each of the 38 big industry executives are, what they want from the governor, and how much money each has already contributed to Schwarzenegger.
The syndicate includes:
* Roland Arnall, co-Chairman of the Board for Ameriquest Capital Corporation. Arnall and Ameriquest have contributed $1,211,400 to Schwarzenegger. Officials in California have declined to comment on whether California will initiate its own investigation into Ameriquest's predatory lending practices.
* Real estate and development mogul, David Murdock, who is owner of Castle & Cook and CEO of Dole Foods. Murdock and the companies he controls have contributed $352,000 to the governor. Corporations like Castle & Cook and Dole Foods are opposing changes to state property tax rules that would require corporate landowners to pay their fair share of property taxes -- a change that could provide an estimated $5 billion in additional state revenue per year.
* David Helwig, President of Blue Cross of California, whose company and executives have contributed $142,400. Blue Cross and its executive benefited from Schwarzenegger's rubber-stamp approval of the company's merger with Anthem -- a deal that paid top executives $265 million.
* Bert Boeckman, owner of Galpin Motors Inc. who has contributed $74,700 to Governor Schwarzenegger. Boeckman and other car dealers are lobbying the governor to oppose the "Car Buyers Bill of Rights" which would provide new protections for car buyers. Schwarzenegger vetoed a version of the proposal last year. This year, the "Bill of Rights" has been introduced as a ballot initiative opposed by the auto industry,
For complete list of the hosts of tonight's fundraiser at the Westin Century Plaza hotel who have also contributed to Schwarzenegger go to: http://arnoldwatch.org/assets/syndicate_chart.gif
Consumer advocates also discussed the governor's broken promises that have driven thousands of nurses, firefighters, teachers and others to protest the governor's fundraiser tonight at 5 pm. "Air Arnold," a banner plane pulling messages for the governor over recent fundraisers, will fly over the Century Plaza with a banner reading: "Arnold: California is Not For Sale -- Arnoldwatch.org and Calnurses.org"
As a candidate, Schwarzenegger told voters: ''I will go to Sacramento and I will clean house. I don't have to take money from anybody. I have plenty of money;'' and, ''Any of those kinds of real big, powerful special interests, if you take money from them, you owe them something.'' Since he announced his candidacy, Schwarzenegger has raised $40 million from big industry - approximately $80,000 per day - twice as much as Governor Gray Davis, who he replaced for being a cash register politician.
"Schwarzenegger said he did not need anybody else's money and that he couldn't be bought but he is the Don of a cash syndicate that is richer and more powerful that the Gambino crime family," said Flanagan.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) has launched an Internet petition campaign: ''Governor, Please Stop the Fundraising,'' in response to Schwarzenegger's recent remarks stating that the public does not care that he has broken campaign promises to clean-up politics as usual. The online petition is available at: http://www.Arnoldwatch.org which is run by FTCR.
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is California's leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information, visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org
For a web log chronicling the governor's pandering to big money contributors, go to: http://www.ArnoldWatch.org
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