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Arnold Inc: Raising Millions in Campaign Money

CBS TV5 San Francisco | FEBRUARY 07, 2005

by Hank Plante

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the man who campaigned against special interests and the influence of big money in state government.

So how's he doing on cleaning that up so far?

"We can't ignore the fact that he has raised $38 million as a politician," said Doug Heller of a group called

And that's just his campaign money. In addition, the Governor has set up a half-dozen private fundraising groups that help pay for his Hollywood lifestyle in the governor's office as well as his campaigns for bond measures and initiatives. So, in a one-on-one interview, we asked the governor about "Arnold Incorporated."

"I'm very happy that I have those donors that pay for those initiatives," Schwarzenegger said. "We have been very successful with our initiatives... But here's the key thing -- never be able to be bought by the special interests. That is the key thing."

State records show that Schwarzenegger's various political committees are funded by millions of dollars from the same insurance companies, developers, financiers and others who have done business with the state for years. So do they influence his policies?

"I will always promise the people I will represent them, because no matter who gives me money, to me the most important thing is the people of California," Schwarzenegger said.

We asked him about taking a million dollars from the car dealers and then vetoing the consumers' car bill of rights, and taking $350,000 from the drug companies and then vetoing four prescription drug bills.

"I vetoed the bills that were bad for California," he said. "It's that simple."
But the fact is, Schwarzenegger raises between $72,000 and $80,000 a day, twice as much as former governor Gray Davis ever did. When we reminded the governor of his own campaign promise not to take special interest money, he compared himself to California's last reformist governor.

"I cannot be bought. That is the key thing," he said. "People can be safe with me. I'm the first guy probably after Hiram Johnson who cannot be bought in Sacramento."
We reminded the governor that he once said that if you take money from the really big powerful special interest groups, then you owe them something.

"I'm talking about the unions. You see, the lucky thing that we did was we never took money from Indian gaming tribes, because we knew that those negotiations would come up and they did come up. And so therefore I could just go and say, 'Look, no matter what you say, you didn't pay for my campaign. So I don't have to do any favors. Because that's what happens with the other politicians."

He's different, he says, from those other politicians, even though the money flowing in sure looks the same.