"The governor -- who first told voters he did not need any
special-interest money and then redefined special interests as only
Indian tribes and labor unions -- said through a spokesperson Sunday
that he did not intend to accept contributions from any bond
dealers who would directly benefit from the sale.
But what about not accepting dollars from CEOs of investment banks
that employ bond dealers, attorneys for the bond dealers, spouses of
bond traders, investors likely to buy the bonds and others with
less-obvious financial interests? In addition to the investment
community, we should expect Johnson's pharmaceutical industry
colleagues to be on hand Tuesday. An audit by the Bush administration's
Department of Health Services shows that pharmaceutical companies owe
the state of California
$1.3 billion in rebates for prescription drugs purchased by the state
Medi-Cal program -- enough to restore the $900 million in proposed
budget cuts to health-care programs for children and the poor.
Yet Schwarzenegger has not collected on the debt, and his own audit of
state finances made no mention of the money owed. You can be sure the
drug executives want to keep it that way.
Commercial real estate interests that operate nationwide are also
likely to be at dinner. They desperately want California's recovery to
be dependent on the $15-billion bond measure because the alternative
revenue source for Schwarzenegger would be to reassess commercial
property values for tax purposes. That alone would cost commercial real
estate interests about $4 billion per year. That's probably why
mega-developers A.G. Spanos and Castle & Cooke have already given
$500,000 between them."