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Murdoch Donates $250K to Schwarzenegger

NewsMax | December 26, 2004

What goes around comes around – in sometimes a surprising way!

So it is with the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rupert Murdoch relationship.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday that last month Murdoch's News America Corp. gave a donation to Schwarzenegger's campaign "totaling a muscle-popping $250,000."

The paper notes the warm feelings between the two were not always so.

"Back in early 1990s, Arnold sued Murdoch's News of the World tabloid for printing an unauthorized biography that told of the muscle-man-turned-actor's national political ambitions and accused him, as the Columbia Journalism Review put it, of being a crude womanizer 'given to expressions of racism, anti-Semitism and admiration for Hitler's ability to lead."'

Schwarzengger won his suit and received an apology. He also collected 30,000 pounds sterling from Murdoch's paper.

Governor twice blessed by Murdoch money

San Francisco Chronicle | December 26, 2004

 'Tis the season -- for giving, getting and getting even -- and here's a little sample of some of the news nuggets and predictions that we found lying under the tree:

First, the Ghost of Christmas Past showed up for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the form of Rupert Murdoch.

Back in early 1990s, Arnold sued Murdoch's News of the World tabloid for printing an unauthorized biography that told of the muscle-man-turned-actor's national political ambitions and accused him, as the Columbia Journalism Review put it, of being a crude womanizer "given to expressions of racism, anti-Semitism and admiration for Hitler's ability to lead.''

In other words, all the things we would later hear about Arnold when he ran for governor.

Arnold got his pound of flesh -- not only did he collect 30,000 pounds from Murdoch's British tabloid, but he got a public apology as well.

Fast forward to last month when, records show, Schwarzenegger received another check from Murdoch -- this time a campaign contribution from the publishing mogul's News America Corp. totaling a muscle-popping $250,000.

How's that for the spirit of giving?

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's elves were busy as well. After a year of burnishing the young Gav's national ID, they turned their attention to more detailed matters.

Near the top of the agenda (Item No. 3) at a recent meeting of the city's three dozen or so department public information officers was a problem that needed solving -- the look of department letterheads.

More precisely, the absence of Newsom's name from the letterhead of almost every department's stationery.

The message was simple: Get the mayor's name on all city stationery -- now.

"And there have been weekly reminders,'' said one attendee.

The mayor apparently is also planning a "merchant walk'' soon. In fact, his advance scouts are already making sure all goes smoothly.

One aide stopped by Original Joe's in the Tenderloin -- one of the city's most comfortable restaurants and a favorite of gamblers, cops, lawyers and just about every mayor in recent times.

The scout, however, was oblivious to all this and started asking host John Duggan whether the place could handle a mayoral visit.

Duggan -- who happens to be a bit of a city fixture himself -- politely informed him that Sen. Barbara Boxer had been in just the other night, and that Sen. Dianne Feinstein had recently sent over a signed pastel pencil etching she'd made as a thank-you to wife Marie Duggan for the restaurant having catered her holiday lunch.

"Can I take a look at where you might seat the mayor?'' the scout asked.

"Certainly,'' replied Duggan. "We have two types of tables here -- seen and unseen. Which would you like?"

"Seen," the scout said.

Speaking of seen: Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom is spending a couple of weeks in somewhat unfamiliar surroundings -- San Francisco. The city's first lady is here just long enough to cram in all the requisite party hopping (she changed into her Marc Jacobs dress at the Oakland Airport to go straight to Gordon Getty's birthday and Christmas party) before returning to New York for another full year of anchor duties at Court TV.

While that won't leave her much chance to return home to San Francisco, it does give hubby Gavin plenty of time to admire the early Christmas gift she picked out for him -- a 1966 photo of Robert Kennedy, taken in New York by celebrity photographer Pat York.

Here are some others to keep an eye on next year:

-- Jerry Brown: Armed with one of the most widely known names in Democratic politics -- and a job that allows him to travel and raise money freely -- Oakland's mayor is far and away the front-runner for his party's attorney general nomination for 2006, early polls show. The question is, can the GOP come up with a competitive match?

-- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: The leading voice for Democratic "core values'' will still ring clear -- but look for a "big tent" pitch to come into play as Pelosi tries to reclaim the party's blue-collar base. Exhibit A: Pelosi's encouraging (but not endorsing) former Indiana congressman and pro-lifer Tim Roemer to run for party chair.

-- Don Perata: The FBI breathing down his neck and the press carrying stories about his mixing politics with personal business don't look good by anyone's count. But, barring an indictment, the Oakland Democrat is likely to continue on as state Senate president pro tem.

-- Secretary of State Kevin Shelley: Embarrassing hearings on his misuse of federal election funds -- inevitable, say insiders. Impeachment hearings -- possible. Re-election chances -- toast.

Stocking stuffer: This being the season, we thought it fitting to include a little gift that came over the Associated Press wire the other day:

In a nutshell, attorneys for billionaire California investor Ron Burkle are using some tailor-made state legislation to keep his wife from disclosing in their messy divorce any information about his assets.

Burkle's estimated wealth of $2.3 billion makes him one of the world's richest men. He's also a well-known political contributor who has given millions of dollars, mostly to Democratic candidates and causes. But he's also given more than $200,000 to Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and his campaigns.

According to the AP, the law used by Burkle's attorneys had languished without much support for a year in the Legislature before it was amended April 1 by former Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, then passed without dissent the following month and signed June 7 by Schwarzenegger.

Burton's amendment, the AP says, came just 17 days after a judge refused to grant a motion by Burkle to have many of the same records sealed by the court.

Not only that, the bill was declared an emergency, meaning it took effect immediately after the governor signed it.

Still, the origins of the privacy measure aren't quite clear. Neither of the lawmakers most involved with the bill -- Burton, and Assembly sponsor Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego -- returned phone calls from the AP.

But Kehoe earlier provided legislative analysts with her reasons, which included preventing "undue media publicity about divorcing couples with substantial assets."

Now that's what you call a present.