Governor Is Piling Up Money at Record Pace

*Averaging $2 million a month, Schwarzenegger has no shortage of campaign donors, including himself, finance reports show.

By Dan Morain, Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO â€" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is tapping the investment, insurance, real estate, manufacturing and construction industries as he continues to raise money at a faster clip than any California politician before him, campaign finance reports show.

In turn, Schwarzenegger is proving to be a boon for political consultants, media specialists, pollsters, attorneys and others since taking office last year, according to the reports filed with the state.

Since the beginning of 2004, the Republican governor has collected at least $12.9 million from an array of interests. He also has donated $4.5 million to his causes from his own funds.

He has raised an average of nearly $2 million a month since January. Gov. Gray Davis, a prodigious fundraiser, averaged $1.6 million a month during his five years in office.

Schwarzenegger has $1.4 million in the bank to wage fights over ballot measures, pay for a possible 2006 reelection campaign and cover leftover debt from the recall campaign.

Given his demonstrated fundraising prowess, he quickly can pump up his coffers. He has a fundraising event set this weekend in Napa Valley and another in the Bay Area later this month.

"Is there support for his policy agenda and what he is trying to do for California? The answer is absolutely, yes," said Marty Wilson, one of Schwarzenegger's top aides.

Others take a dimmer view of his fundraising activities.

"The reason all these big special interests are giving him money is … they want something from him," said Doug Heller of the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Consumer & Taxpayers Rights. "Hewlett-Packard doesn't give $250,000 to get his autograph."

That Silicon Valley computer firm is one of at least 40 donors, including corporations, individuals and trade groups, that have given six-figure checks to Schwarzenegger's California Recovery Team, which he established to help pay for ballot measure battles, and to other funds he controls.

Hewlett-Packard spokeswoman Monica Sarkar said the company gave because its executives believed passage of March ballot measures to help restructure California's debt was "important for the economic recovery of the state of California."

The governor is using his money to pay political aides to help him campaign. He paid one vendor, Hartmann Studios, $636,000 to help arrange his public appearances and spent more than $130,000 on fundraising activities. An additional $446,000 went for travel for himself, his campaign aides and some gubernatorial staffers.

The governor has paid campaign consultants $1.5 million since the start of the year. He spent $437,000 on attorneys and accountants, and $306,000 for polling.

The governor's biggest single expense, $5 million, was for television time in the successful campaign for Propositions 57 and 58 in March. The measures were designed to restructure the state's debt.

In one of his more unusual expenditures, Schwarzenegger reported shifting $240,000 into a separate political corporation to pay for his efforts to influence legislators.

Thomas Hiltachk, his attorney, said the money paid for rallies at malls and elsewhere when Schwarzenegger called on admirers to urge lawmakers to adopt his proposals.

Among the top Democrats contemplating seeking their party's gubernatorial nomination in 2006, state Treasurer Phil Angelides reported raising $2.2 million in the first half of 2004 and has nearly $12.1 million in the bank. Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer has raised $615,000 in the first half of the year and has $11 million in the bank.

Angelides campaign spokesman Dan Newman, noting that Schwarzenegger opened his campaign for governor last year saying he would not raise money, called the governor's fundraising "yet another example of the governor making and then breaking promises."

Schwarzenegger's fundraising has strained Proposition 34, the 2000 ballot measure approved by voters that was aimed at imposing fundraising restrictions on politicians.

A court declared that he violated Proposition 34 by lending his campaign for governor more than the $100,000 maximum it allows. That decision forced the governor, a multimillionaire, to forgive himself $4.5 million he lent his campaign.

Under Proposition 34, gubernatorial candidates cannot raise more than $21,200 from individual donors. But Schwarzenegger has been raising unlimited sums in the ballot-measure accounts, a practice that could come to a halt next year.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission ruled that starting in 2005, candidates will not be permitted to raise unlimited sums for such purposes but will be subject to the cap.

Los Angeles billionaire David Murdoch, through his companies, has given Schwarzenegger's accounts $325,000. Individuals affiliated with the Los Angeles financial services firm TCW have donated $262,000 this year. Its founder, Robert A. Day, gave $100,000.

Individuals and corporations involved in the real estate, development and construction industries account for more than $3 million of the governor's receipts.

Donors who identify themselves as investors and venture capitalists, or work for the financial services and banking industries, gave $2.1 million. The insurance industry, including health insurance companies, accounted for $1.2 million. Manufacturers, including high-tech companies, gave $1.4 million.

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