SACRAMENTO – When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was swept into office by the recall election in 2003, he promised to end politics as usual, where "money goes in and favors go out."
But Schwarzenegger has carried on the political tradition of providing favors – in the form of coveted state appointments – to generous campaign donors.
At least 13 of Schwarzenegger's appointees, their spouses and their companies have contributed more than $1.4 million to his campaigns, according to campaign disclosure forms and a review by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
BTW: Phil Angelides created great contrast with Schwarzenegger when he stood up for election reform.
Among Schwarzenegger's appointees to the board was defense contractor Brent Wilkes, who has since resigned. Wilkes has been identified as a co-conspirator in the case of convicted former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Wilkes has not been charged.
During the 2003 campaign, he served as county finance co-chairman for Schwarzenegger. Wilkes, his wife, Regina, and his company, ADCS Inc., contributed $77,400 to Schwarzenegger. [...]
Schwarzenegger said that any appointee "resigns immediately if they are doing anything unlawful or that is not cool."
Message to patronage donors: don't get caught.
This is why we need Proposition 89.
"Large contributors shouldn't be rewarded for their loyalty. These appointments should be based on merit alone," said Carmen Balber, who works for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "In some cases, these people weren't the best appointees." [...]
Schwarzenegger, even though he didn't mention appointments specifically, promised a different approach to state government during the campaign.
"Here's how it works," he said in one television ad. "Money goes in. Favors go out. The people lose. We need to send a message. Game over."
Balber said Schwarzenegger continues to play the game by the same rules.