An Update on “I’m Rich, So I won’t need their Special Interest $”

(Also, a quick reminder that I’m going to be appearing on the Your Call Radio Show today at 11 AM on KALW 91.7 in SF to talk about the special election and the budget.  You can listen online here or download it later here. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Back in 2003, Arnold kept telling us how rich he was.  So, of course, that should make us trust him. Because nobody who is rich has ever been corrupt, don’t you know? While the implications back then were obvious, it seems special elections really bring his hypocrisy into the full light of day. This is from George Skelton in 2005:

He pledged not to raise political money from special interests, insisting he didn’t need their dollars because he’s rich. But he has been raising funds from special interests at a record clip, far out-groveling Davis.

Schwarzenegger actually told the Sacramento Bee editorial board Tuesday, in effect, that he needs to raise money from his special interests in order to beat his opponents’ interests. Referring to the ballot measures he is advocating, the governor said: “What’s important is that I can reform California. And the way we can reform California is if I have the money [to] confront the special interests.”

And get the money he does.  This week he’ll be hosting a fundraiser at his house. The price for a couple of nights of quality time at the Governor’s Brentwood digs with him and the First Lady? $100,000.

Last week, we saw reports on the massive political economy in California, with over $1 Billion in political money raised since the passage of Prop 34 in 2000. And Arnold has been a key driver in this, raising hundreds of millions of dollars himself, and using his star power to help other candidates and campaigns.

There is an undeniable stench in all of this access for the super-rich. He wants everybody to think he is some sort of Mr. Clean, yet bathes in the mud. Yes, he’s not some average politician gobbling up cash, he’s better at it.

While it would be nice to imagine that these events consist of discussion of “True Lies” and “Kindergarten Cop”, that’s not actually likelty to be the case. All of this money simply means that those who have the wherewithal to write $100K checks get their issues heard directly by the governor. That is the definition of special interest influence, and what Arnold pledged to fight.

As our budget has gone from a little screwy to total disaster under his leadership, there is little to find for any legacy of this actor-governor.  It has just been one massive fail.

One thought on “An Update on “I’m Rich, So I won’t need their Special Interest $””

  1. Shouldn’t it be illegal for an elected official to request $100,000 to meet him or her, regardless of whether the money is going to campaign funds, initiative funds, or some behested charity?

    You’d think this is something a progressive Democratic legislature would be eager to curtail.

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