Skip to comments.Several top Schwarzenegger aides skirted regulations by accepting corporate gifts
Posted on 11/07/2004 10:05:45 AM PST by NormsRevenge
LOS ANGELES - Top aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have skirted state regulations by accepting gifts such as sporting event tickets provided by companies, business groups and other special interests, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
California law allows officials to accept up to $340 in gifts in a year from any one special interest, but state officials have sidestepped the cap in several instances, according to a Times review of lobbying reports published on the newspaper's Web site.
Five of Schwarznegger's senior aides and their families each accepted more than $340 in tickets to a Sacramento Kings basketball game in one night alone, sitting in luxury boxes supplied by phone company SBC and oil giant BP, the newspaper said. And last May, communications director Rob Stutzman, his wife and son were treated to $767 worth of tickets courtesy of SBC.
State officials bypassed the regulation by using a legal loophole under which gifts handed out directly to relatives rather than the official aren't counted toward the $340 limit, the Times said.
Margita Thompson, Schwarzenegger's press secretary, defended the gifts, arguing that family outings provided leisure time for hardworking staff. She added that bonds between children can help foster political relationships.
"I've certainly heard of instances where two little boys whose parents are in opposing parties end up hanging out and bonding as children can uniquely do. And suddenly, you have an even deeper tie," she said.
SBC spokesman John Britton declined to discuss just how his company gave out $3,946 worth of tickets to Schwarzenegger administration officials between November and June, but he said California's dominant phone company wanted to make it known that it has been subsidizing rivals.
"We take every opportunity to communicate with state policy makers, including the governor and his staff," Britton said. "We're just trying to maintain a good relationship."
In at least one case a Schwarzenegger aide received gifts from his former employer.
Richard Costigan, who worked as a lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce before becoming a principal negotiator for the governor received $438 from the chamber between November and May.
Although that exceeded the $340 limit, Schwarzenegger legal adviser Peter Siggins said he doesn't believe that applied to Costigan because provisions in the law allow for some exceptions. But even if Costigan didn't meet those, Siggins said, it was "very tenuous" to conclude that his former employer would have benefited more from pending legislation before the governor than the general public would have.
Schwarzenegger has railed against special interests since before becoming governor in last year's recall election.
"I think any of those kind of real powerful special interests, if you take money from them, you owe them something because like (economist) Milton Friedman said a long time ago, there's no such thing as a free lunch," he said during the campaign.
Thompson, the governor's spokeswoman, said accepting gifts from major corporations that lobby state government fits in with the Schwarzenegger administration's plan to modify the state Capital's political environment.
"One of the things the governor came into Sacramento to do is change the culture," Thompson said. "And one of the things that has to happen to change the culture and create a more bipartisan atmosphere is that people have to talk to each other."
Oh shaddap. Willie Brown did it all the time.
This is news! Good Lord, these politicians exist to Farm the working people of this country. Salaries, pensions, credit cards, automobiles, gifts, "loans," pleasure boys and girls(depending on the perverts predilictions),the finest foods, wines, cocaine; the best bowel movements money can buy and last but not least the best sleeping potions until the last vestige of conscience departs.
DO NOT question anything to do with Arnold.
DON'T you know that GovRino can do NO wrong.
So I take it that it's OK with you if the Republicans become just as corrupt as the Democrats?
Heh heh heh. I deliberately left it at that because I knew someone would come along and fall face first into a false conclusion. Congratulations, you did it! But to answer your foolish question, HELL NO it's not ok with me!
I am pleased that you are so easily amused. Only a witless idiot posts a false statement and then laughs when anyone questions it. There are plenty here on FR who will support anything Arnold does, no matter how corrupt in appearance or substance.
I post no false statement, so you must be laughing at yourself.
Oh, please. Go after all of them. And by the way, Arnold doesn't take a salary.
Methinks the Dems are peeved about Arnie's appearance in Ohio.
"So I take it that it's OK with you if the Republicans become just as corrupt as the Democrats?"
Gimme a break! A ticket to a sports event now makes someone "corrupt." Unreal.
Yes. When public officials are paid to remain objective they can buy their own tickets. I would.
Do you live in CA? Do you know about how Sacramento and its people feel about the Kings?
I just don't think going to a King's game meets the above definition.
HOW ON EARTH was Arnold humiliated on Tuesday? I can't wait to hear this answer.
Democrats picked up more seats in the state. This clown isn't fooling me, he is a shill for the Kennedy klan. I only voted for him out of fear of Bustamente. If you haven't realized it yet the only reason democrats win in this state it's because of voter fraud in the big cities.
Just think, cutting out the lobbying business in sporting events, besides ending the conditioning our representatives and executives to be drunk with power, might just lower ticket prices.
More Dems won because California is a DEMOCRATIC STATE. We're lucky to even have Arnold. As far as being a shill? I don't think Arnold is afraid of anyone or is afraid of being his own person. He does things his way. This insane dislike of Arnold is mind-boggling. He's the best we could have gotten and he helped Bush big time.