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Sep 07, 2006 - 02:30 PM

What's a Piece of a $100 Million Dollar Baby Worth?

by Carmen Balber
SB 1489, approved by the legislature last week, would allow California's Attorney General to recoup the cost to taxpayers when he takes down a corporate crook like Enron. The bill is awaiting Arnold's signature.

Its opponents have contributed $1.3 million to the gov, including $269,600 from the Grocers, $130,000 from the General Contractors' PAC, $247,184 from Restaurant Owners and $290,000 from the Retailers' Association.

The so-called Civil Justice Association is also pushing for a veto. That group's board is a Who's Who of companies that have been held accountable by the Attorney General for breaking the law, including: Ford Motor Company, sued for knowingly selling SUVs prone to rollovers and tire failures; Phillip Morris, caught lying about the health effects of cigarettes; and, AT&T, guilty of exposing California communities to possible leaks of toxic chemicals.

That board also boasts some of the gov's largest campaign contributors, with 11 companies and associations that can be counted among Arnold's top givers: AT&T, Blue Cross of California, the California Building Industry Association, Chevron, Cisco Systems, the Consulting Engineers & Land Surveyors of California, Hewlett-Packard Co., Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, PG&E, Safeway, and The Irvine Co.

Arnold reached a fundraising milestone today when he surpassed $100 million raised. Can he give up the cash race and stand up for regular California taxpayers by shutting the door on this giveaway to the business world's worst actors? Or can the wrongdoers count on Arnold to add up the dollars and cents they've spent to preserve this corporate tax loophole?

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