Schwarzenegger to Go on Road to Raise Funds
Donors in the East and California will be asked to contribute to his reelection effort and policy agenda.
SACRAMENTO â€" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has
planned a series of fundraisers from California to the East
Coast next month, including a dinner with New York Gov.
George Pataki, a business round table with Washington
lobbyists, and a Los Angeles event where $89,200 will buy a
"private briefing" for two with the governor.
Schwarzenegger's fundraising blitz in Ohio, Manhattan,
Washington, Los Angeles and Indian Wells, Calif.,
â€" at upscale hotels, restaurants and private
homes â€" is intended to raise money for a
possible reelection campaign and other Schwarzenegger
The Los Angeles invitation lists one of Schwarzenegger's
state campaign chairmen as Roland Arnall, head of
Ameriquest Mortgage, which has been accused by hundreds of
consumers in 21 states of fraudulent sales practices. The
company has donated $1.2 million to Schwarzenegger and his
various campaign committees, and recently financed a
weekend at the Pro Bowl in Honolulu for the leader of the
Assembly and four other Democratic lawmakers.
Schwarzenegger faces increasing criticism for his
fundraising, expected to top $150 million by the end of
2006. He has been holding policy briefings with donors to
explain his agenda for change, but he has repeatedly said
he would not trade contributions for specific actions. The
law allows candidates to talk to donors about their
policies but prohibits them from linking money to
The governor's multi-state itinerary begins March 4 in
Ohio. After appearing at the annual Arnold Classic
bodybuilding event in Columbus, Schwarzenegger will fly to
Cincinnati for a dinner hosted by Carl H. Linder, owner of
the Cincinnati Reds and former chief executive of Chiquita
Three days later in New York City, Schwarzenegger is
scheduled to attend a dinner organized by fellow Republican
Pataki at the '21' Club. Martin Wilson, Schwarzenegger's
political consultant, said the two men were old friends who
support each other politically.
Schwarzenegger then will head to Washington, where a
fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel will be hosted by
lobbyists and political operatives. The invitation offers a
seat next to Schwarzenegger at a business round table
discussion, for a contribution of $22,300, the maximum
allowed by California law.
On March 16, Schwarzenegger has organized a "Spring Into
Action" dinner and reception at the Westin Century Plaza in
Los Angeles. Sponsors of the event include corporate
executives and, among others, self-help guru Anthony
The invitation suggests that two people could donate a
total of $89,200 to two separate Schwarzenegger committees,
one that would fund his possible reelection campaign and
another, the California Recovery Team, that promotes the
governor's proposals. The money entitles donors to dinner,
photos with the governor and a "private briefing" to be
arranged later, according to the invitation.
The final fundraising event is a private dinner March 19 at
the Indian Wells home of philanthropists Mary and Howard
Lester. He is the retired chief executive of
Williams-Sonoma Inc., a $2.8-billion housewares
Wilson, who handles most of the governor's fundraising,
said Schwarzenegger has a "dual-track financing strategy
that includes a series of fundraising events for the
governor's reelection committee" and for Citizens to Save
California, a group formed to support Schwarzenegger's
agenda. Schwarzenegger has said he would need to raise
about $50 million this year to promote his proposals, which
include new government spending restraints, merit pay for
teachers and a new way to determine voting districts.
Wilson said the amount needed for the reelection committee
this year is "considerably more modest."
Although he has not announced whether he would seek
reelection in 2006, Schwarzenegger relies on donors to a
reelection account to pay many of his expenses as
Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that only the media cares
about the large amounts of money he is collecting. He said
he needed the funds to fight interest groups, such as
public-employee unions, that plan to spend tens of millions
of dollars this year to defeat his proposals.
"The people don't see it as a negative," Schwarzenegger
said at a press briefing. "Maybe the press does, but the
people don't. I have never seen anyone come up to me and
say, 'Governor, please stop the fundraising.' "
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