"I want to be a governor who is for the people, for everyone...Therefore I don't want to take any contributions, any campaign contributions, from the special interests. Because as soon as you do that, as soon as you say OK, give me this money and I will do this, this, and that for you, you are selling out."
--Arnold Schwarzenegger, today on Hugh Hewitt's radio show.
Arnold is saying two things here. One is that he doesn't "want to take any contributions" from special interests. The other is that he doesn't want to sell out to them. Of course, the scenario he describes is more than selling out. It's a felony, trading promises of action for campaign donations.
But the first part of his statement, that he won't be taking or doesn't want to take money from the special interests, is something he has said many times. Problem is, he is taking such money, and lots of it, tens of thousands of dollars from individuals and companies with a potential interest in government policy made in Sacramento.
I am not sure what distinction he is making here, other than that he won’t be corrupted by this money because he doesn’t need it, or because much of it is coming in without him personally asking for it. But it seems to be a mixed message, to put it mildly, and an outright distortion or lie, if you want to place it in the worst light.
In fact, one could argue that because Arnold is able to self-fund the entire campaign if he wanted to, every dollar he collects from private interests is a dollar he doesn’t have to pull from his own pocket. Unlike, say, Gray or Cruz or Tom, who desperately need the money they raise but see it as a matter of political necessity and not something that helps them defray costs that would otherwise come from their own bank accounts. They don't have any money in their personal bank accounts, so a contribution not collected is simply a campaign expense not made, not a dollar they personally lose.
Among those who have already donated the maximum of $21,200 to Schwarzenegger’s campaign:
Gary Cino, investor, of Granite Bay Ventures,
Hilmar Cheese Co.
Timothy Draper, CEO of Draper, Fisher and Jurvetson (and the same amount from his wife)
William Draper of Draper Richards venture capital firm
Richard Santulli, CEO of Net Jets (and the same amount from his wife)
William Siegel, senior VP of News America
Barratt Mortgage Co.
Jerry Perenchio, and the same amount from his wife
Chuck Hansen, CEO of Hansen Technologies
D.L. Horowitz, president of Horowitz Management Co.
Fritz Duda Co. of Dallas, Tx.
William Lyon, CEO of William Lyon Co, and his wife. Lyon also gave $100,000 to Schwarzenegger’s political action committee on the recall.
Paul Folino, CEO of Emulex
Don Sodaro, president of Hanford Hotels
Don Bren, Irvine Co, and his wife
Food 4 Less
Howard Keyes of Keyes Motors
It’s fine for Arnold to claim that Gray is corrupted by the money he takes but that he, Arnold, won’t be corrupted by it. But that’s different from saying he won’t be corrupted because he won’t be taking the money--and then taking it.
Here is the complete list of contributions to Arnold's campaign committee.