Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lame Duck Still Flying ...

... in a private jet.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has only six months left in office, but he's still having fun. He'll soon be traveling to Asia on a trade mission which is being financed by a large Asian company.

On Thursday, the state Fair Political Practices Commission implemented a $420 limit on private contributions to nonprofits like the one the governor has used for years to pay for private jets and luxury hotel rooms on trips to Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Any such contribution earmarked to benefit a particular public official is subject to the new cap.

But the rule can easily be circumvented with a small tweak in the fundraising process: If the person or group giving to the nonprofit doesn't identify the public official the check is meant to benefit, the $420 cap does not apply.

Schwarzenegger's Asia trip will be paid for by the California State Protocol Foundation, a nonprofit run from the offices of the Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento, using "general donations," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear.

The $550,000 gift to the foundation by the Alibaba Group, one of Asia's leading e-commerce companies, will help cover the September trip to China, South Korea and Japan, McLear said. ...

The generosity of private donors has allowed Schwarzenegger and members of his staff to fly to China, Europe and the Middle East on private jets — his preferred method of travel — without spending taxpayer money. The journeys, often with California business leaders in tow, benefit the state's economy without burdening the budget, McLear said.
[Emphasis added]

Now that's an interesting way to justify bought access to the governor, isn't it?

Nope, won't cost the state a dime, this nice little vacation to Asia promoting California business, at least not until the next tax increase on corporations comes up or a change in health and safety regulations is being formulated.

The Governator isn't even pretending any more.

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Blogger Flying Junior said...

Before he was elected, Arnold promised that he was so wonderfully and independently wealthy that he couldn't possibly be bought and paid for. I guess, like so many of us, he just needs a little help with budgeting!

5:30 AM  

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