Schwarzenegger Accepts Contributions From Hospital, Insurer Groups
Trade associations, including the California Hospital Association and the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies, paid at least $25,000 each to co-host a fundraiser for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) at the Sutter Club in Sacramento on Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reports. Despite a pledge during the 2003 recall campaign not to accept contributions from trade groups, Schwarzenegger "has changed course" and is starting to accept financial contributions from trade associations, according to the Bee.
Through July 31, CHA this year has spent $783,000 lobbying more than 60 agencies and addressing 80 bills, the Bee reports. ACLHIC has spent $213,000 for lobbying efforts addressing about 50 pieces of legislation.
In addition, the California Restaurant Association, which has lobbied against mandatory health care coverage for workers, is hosting a $500-per-person lunch on Monday in Los Angeles for Schwarzenegger.
According to Marty Wilson, Schwarzenegger's chief fundraiser, "We're raising a lot of money. We just realized the trade organizations raise money for political purposes, and this is a more efficient way of raising money."
Duane Dauner, president and CEO of CHA, said, "These unions that are protesting the governor's agenda are in effect trade associations for the state workers they represent. It's the same thing" (Delsohn/Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 8/20).
In related campaign contribution news, two Democratic legislators from New Jersey on Friday alleged that Douglas Forrester, the Republican gubernatorial candidate for that state, tried to influence California legislation that would require pharmacy benefit managers to disclose more about their business practices, the New York Times reports. The California Senate is "on the verge" of approving the bill as part of a legislative package addressing prescription drugs, and Schwarzenegger likely will face "renewed pressure from consumer groups" to sign the legislation, according to the Times.
Forrester, who founded the PBM BeneCard Services, contributed $22,300 -- the legal maximum -- to Schwarzenegger, who vetoed similar legislation last year.
New Jersey state Sen. John Adler and state Assembly member Herbert Conaway voiced their allegations in a news conference in Trenton, N.J., before Schwarzenegger and Forrester were scheduled to attend a fundraiser in New Jersey.
Adler said, "Did Mr. Forrester already receive a veto assurance from the California governor in exchange for his contribution?"
Sherry Sylvester, Forrester's campaign director, denied the allegations (Chen, New York Times, 8/20).