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THE INAUGURATION

Governor Raises $1 Million Since Election

The amount includes $360,000 to pay for inaugural events. Schwarzenegger plans more fund-raising to promote his agenda.

November 18, 2003|Dan Morain | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has raised more than $1 million since his election last month, including at least $360,000 from car dealers, developers, telecommunications firms and others who paid for Monday's swearing-in events.

Schwarzenegger said Monday he intends to raise more money to promote his agenda.

The new governor's aides had said they intended to limit their fund-raising for the day's festivities to $250,000. But on Schwarzenegger's campaign Web site, organizers of the inauguration disclosed that he raised at least $360,000 in increments of $5,000 to $30,000.

Some donors had been contributors to former Gov. Gray Davis, ousted in last month's recall. Many others are part of Schwarzenegger's stable of backers, including such Republican stalwarts as Irvine Co. chief Donald Bren, homebuilder William Lyon, and developer Alex Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers.

"There was a mandate on us to produce something that looked good and kept people safe," said Marty Wilson, executive director of the swearing-in committee.

Wilson said the price for the actual ceremony will be about $250,000. But the overall price will be greater because of costs associated with printing and mailing invitations and catering events. Wilson said the committee spent $80,000 to accommodate roughly 700 media representatives.

Still, Wilson said, the final bill will be less than the $1.5 million that Davis raised for his first inauguration five years ago.

To pay for Monday's events, individuals, corporations and trade groups donated to a nonprofit corporation established by Schwarzenegger last month.

State law imposes less stringent disclosure requirements on such corporations than on campaign committees. Between campaigns, for example, candidates must publicly disclose within two weeks any donation of $5,000 or more to their campaign committees.

But Schwarzenegger will have 60 days to disclose the identities of donors who gave $5,000 or more to the swearing-in committee, and the amounts they gave. Those disclosures will be made with the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Schwarzenegger already has disclosed on his Web site the identities of those who gave the $360,000. Schwarzenegger listed an additional 30 "underwriters" and "contributors" to the swearing-in on the program for the inaugural, but has not yet specified the amounts they gave.

Several donors have business before the state. ACS State and Local Solutions, which gave $10,000, employs three lobby firms in Sacramento and is involved in state computer projects. AT&T gave $15,000. The telecommunications firm has a major presence in Sacramento and has lobbyists who seek to influence decisions at the California Public Utilities Commission.

During the recall campaign, Schwarzenegger made a point of saying he would shun special-interest money. He later issued a memo defining special interests, saying in part that he would "not solicit contributions from single interest trade associations."

The new governor disclosed that he accepted donations for swearing-in goods and services from four trade associations -- the California Bottled Water Assn., the California Motor Car Dealers Assn., the California Restaurant Assn. and the California Wine Institute. Each has a lobby presence in Sacramento.

Wilson explained the decision to accept the "in-kind" donations from the trade groups by saying the contributions did not go into Schwarzenegger's campaign funds, and the groups did not give money. Rather, the car dealers loaned vans to ferry workers around Sacramento. The other groups donated food, water and wine.

To win the recall contest, Schwarzenegger raised $12 million and used another $10 million in bank loans and his own money. He continues to raise money to be placed in two campaign accounts.

Since the Oct. 7 recall election, he has accepted a combined $707,000 in his gubernatorial campaign committee and in a committee he established to promote Davis' recall, according to filings with the California secretary of state.

Schwarzenegger has indicated that he intends to raise money to help pay off $4.5 million in bank loans he took out for the campaign. He took donations of $100,000 last week from Orange County mortgage lender Ameriquest Capital Corp., and the same amount from American International Group Inc., a major insurance firm. Among its lines of insurance, the company provides workers' compensation insurance, and could be a player in the coming battle to overhaul the system.

State law caps individual donations made directly to political candidates at $21,200. But Schwarzenegger put the money in an account established to promote Davis' ouster. The restriction does not apply to such committees.

Additionally, Ameriquest chairman Roland Arnal and his wife each gave $21,200 to the Schwarzenegger-for-governor committee.

Ameriquest had donated $348,000 to Davis during his five years in office, including $100,000 to committees to oppose Davis' recall. Davis appointed a former Ameriquest executive to the University of California Board of Regents.

At a California Chamber of Commerce lunch on Monday, Schwarzenegger told the crowd he intends to seek more donations to help win passage of a variety of ballot measures, including one to address workers' compensation.

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