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The Foundation For Taxpayer and Consumer Rights

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Press Release
May 09, 2007 - 01:00 AM

Group Demands that Gov. Schwarzenegger Return $100,000 from Chevron;

Donation Made As State Is Gripped by Gasoline Crisis That Benefits Chevron
Santa Monica, CA -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger accepted a $100,000 donation from Chevron Corp. just as gasoline prices were hitting a new all-time record in California, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

The timing and intent of this donation to Schwarzenegger's "California Recovery Team" seems meant meant to maintain the Governor's political silence on high gasoline prices, said the nonprofit, nonpartisan FTCR, which asked that Schwarzenegger return both the new donation and the rest of the $665,000 he and his political committees have taken from Chevron.

"It is astonishing that no one in Schwarzenegger's office, or the governor himself, could see that this stinks to high heaven," said Judy Dugan, research director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and OilWatchdog.org. "California is gripped by the highest gasoline prices in the nation as Chevron has doubled its profit margin on making gasoline in the West. Chevron's donation can only be seen as a big thank-you for the governor's silence on the issue."

The donation, posted on the state's campaign disclosure web site today, was made May 1, a few days after Chevron reported another first-quarter profit record. Chevron is the West's largest refiner and has been raking in disproportionate profits on California gasoline prices that are 45 cents to 50 cents higher than in the rest of the nation.

"If Gov. Schwarzenegger keeps Chevron's cash and continues his political silence while Chevron robs California motorists blind, he's not just a girlie man, he's Chevron's girlie man," said Jamie Court, president of FTCR. "It is scandal enough that Governor is still accepting big corporate donations even though he won't be running again for governor or any other state office. But to take $100,000 from Chevron at the same time as gas prices in California surpassed record highs is to spit in the face of Californians."

Schwarzenegger recently offered special private meetings to those who gave $100,000 to his California Recovery Team, which amounts to a political slush fund, said FTCR.

See the donation document here.

FTCR and its OilWatchdog.org project this week asked Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders to call a special session on the gasoline price crisis, which is pouring profits into Chevron's coffers. OilWatchdog.org has also launched a citizen petition calling for the special session. See the petition here.

FTCR noted that California lawmakers have been silent on the price spikes, which are driven by the refusal of oil companies and refiners to provide sufficient gasoline supplies to California and the rest of the West.

"California's elected officials owe the state's citizens a hard look at the behavior of oil companies and action to control their shorting of the gasoline market," said Dugan, "Instead, Gov. Schwarzenegger takes money from the company causing much of the pain."

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a leading nonprofit and nonpartisan consumer watchdog group. For more information visit us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org and www.OilWatchdog.org and www.ArnoldWatch.org.




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