Schwarzenegger Raises $113M for Campaign

The Associated Press
Saturday, November 4, 2006; 3:39 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is on pace to become the most prolific fundraiser in California history, with much of the cash flowing in from big businesses and executives, according to a review of campaign finance records by The Associated Press.

He has raised $113.4 million in the little more than three years since he launched his campaign to replace Democrat Gray Davis, who often was accused of having a "pay to play" approach to governing that favored his donors.

That amount is nearly as much as the $120 million Davis raised over seven years for two gubernatorial campaigns and to fight the recall effort. It also is more than three times as much as Schwarzenegger's Democratic opponent in Tuesday's election, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, has received during roughly the same period.

Schwarzenegger has done it despite having voter-imposed contribution limits on some of his campaign committees that Davis did not face until the 2003 recall campaign.

"Schwarzenegger has raised an average of $95,000 a day, which dwarfs the amount of money Davis raised," said Carmen Balber, a consumer advocate for the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which tracks the governor's campaign contributions and has been one of his biggest critics.

Schwarzenegger also has funneled $23.7 million of his own money into his campaigns, which have included his unsuccessful efforts to pass four ballot measures in a special election last year.

The governor continues to raise money as he heads toward what is likely to be a lopsided victory on Election Day. He led Angelides by 16 percentage points in a Field Poll released this week.

U.S. Sen. John McCain headlined fundraisers for Schwarzenegger on Thursday and Friday in California. Aides said the governor needs to keep raising money to pay campaign bills, despite more than $40 million in fundraising this year.

Schwarzenegger has raised his money in large part by mining board rooms and executive suites from the Silicon Valley to Wall Street, the AP analysis shows. About 75 percent of his donations have come from contributors who have given him at least $10,000. Most of that money has come from businesses and business executives.

Spanish-language television magnate Jerry Perenchio, Stockton developer and San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos and William Robinson, founder of the DHL courier service, each has given the governor and his various campaign committees more than $2 million.

Mortgage lender Ameriquest Capital Corp., the California Republican Party, Henry Nicholas, chairman of NS Holdings LLC, and B. Wayne Hughes, chairman of Public Storage Inc., have chipped in more than $1 million apiece.

Chevron Texaco Corp. and Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens are among those who have contributed more than $500,000.

Schwarzenegger has said repeatedly that no special interest has a stranglehold on him.

"I cannot be bought by anyone, and anyone who gives me money buys into that philosophy," he told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board recently.

Vince Sollitto, a spokesman for the California Chamber of Commerce and a former Schwarzenegger spokesman, explained the contributions by saying, "The governor has consistently run and governed on an agenda of economic growth, and employers in California are naturally supportive of that."

But Schwarzenegger's critics complain that the amount of his contributions shows that he failed to follow through on his campaign promise to weaken the power of wealthy special interests.

"Money has always been important in California politics," said Ned Wigglesworth, a spokesman for California Common Cause, a campaign reform group. "But I think it's fair to say that under Schwarzenegger's watch it's become even more dominant than it was in the past. That's not just Schwarzenegger. That's the Legislature _ Democrat and Republican alike."

© 2006 The Associated Press