SANTA MONICA, CA -- March 8 -- Invitations to Governor Schwarzenegger's lunchtime fundraiser today at the St. Regis hotel in Washington D.C. include a seat at a policy meeting after the fundraiser for those who contribute $22,300, according to the nonpartisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). The fundraiser is co-hosted by the Dutko group, the lead lobbying firm for the pharmaceutical industry which has already contributed $367,200 to Schwarzenegger and has urged the governor to oppose legislation providing lower cost prescription drugs.
To read the invitation to today's fundraiser go to: http://arnoldwatch.org/political_reform/DCfundr.pdf
"Schwarzenegger should not trade campaign cash for special access for drug companies who want to keep the status quo on high priced prescription drugs. If the governor is really not motivated by money and doesn't need the cash, he should not take these contributions," said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR. "When Schwarzenegger, the self proclaimed 'collectinator,' goes to Washington D.C. he should be collecting money from the White House to offset the state budget shortfall, not from the drug industry to benefit his reelection campaign."
As a candidate, Schwarzenegger told voters: "I will go to Sacramento and I will clean house. I don't have to take money from anybody. I have plenty of money;" and, "Any of those kinds of real big, powerful special interests, if you take money from them, you owe them something." For more information, go to http://www.ArnoldWatch.org
Schwarzenegger's fundraising trip to D.C. is part of an East Coast tour including a fundraiser at the 21 Club restaurant in New York City last night. FTCR said that Schwarzenegger is using private policy meetings as a tactic to encourage financial support of his fundraising efforts. An invite to the governor's March 16th fundraiser at the Century Plaza hotel in Los Angeles says that $89,200 will buy a "private briefing" for two with Schwarzenegger. To read the invitation for the Los Angeles fundraiser go to: http://arnoldwatch.org/political_reform/marchforcash.pdf.
Over the last three weeks, pharmaceutical companies have contributed $3.3 million to a California political action committee to apparently fight prescription reform efforts and to support the governor's own industry-friendly proposal. For more information go to: http://consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/pr/pr004796.php3
The Schwarzenegger prescription drug proposal:
- Relies on voluntary discounts from drug companies. The plan fails to capitalize on California's enormous purchasing power that could be used to negotiate deep discounts with drug companies. Last year, Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill opposed by the prescription drug industry that would have required drug manufacturers to negotiate bulk discounts.
- Limits participation in the drug program to uninsured Californians whose annual income is below 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Many consumers and seniors who need access to affordable prescription drugs to offset huge health care costs are barred from accessing discounts.
FTCR has launched an Internet petition campaign: "Governor, Please Stop the Fundraising," in response to Schwarzenegger's recent remarks stating that the public does not care that he has broken campaign promises to not take money from big industry. Schwarzenegger has raised $40 million -- about $80,000 each day -- twice as much as Governor Gray Davis, who he replaced for being a cash register politician. The online petition is available at http://www.arnoldwatch.net/fundraisingpetition/
To read web logs chronicling Schwarzenegger's pandering to his big industry contributors go to http://www.Arnoldwatch.org which is run by FTCR.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is California's leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information, visit us on the web at http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org