Thursday, May 19, 2005

Fundraising Hypocrisy in the Sunshine State

You probably wouldn't take it too well if your neighbor came over to your house and started telling you what you and your family should have for dinner. It's your house - you and your family can decide without outside interference.

Yet, outside interference is the name of the game this week, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger travels to Florida, Illinois, and Texas for a series of fundraisers for his 2005 ballot initiative agenda. In prominent attendance at the Florida fundraisers will be Governor Jeb Bush and members of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, who are working together to roll back the ballot initiative process in Florida.

The efforts to curtail the initiative process in Florida, led by the state Chamber of Commerce and supported by Governor Bush, have focused on the ability of out-of-state interests to corrupt the process with well-financed campaigns. Schwarzenegger has held fundraisers around the country seeking money for his ballot campaign, collecting millions from out-of-state interests to fund his ballot agenda.

Schwarzenegger has been campaigning for independent commissions to draw legislative and congressional districts; Bush does not support the drive for an independent redistricting commission in Florida.

These guys are each half-right: Bush is right that out-of-state interests have no place spending money to influence California’s initiative process, which should belong to the people of California. Schwarzenegger is right that an independent redistricting commission would allow voters in California and Florida to pick their elected officials, not the other way around.

But while these guys are getting what they want, the rest of us in California and Florida are left with an initiative process dominated by money and a system of drawing districts rigged to meet the needs of politicians, not voters.

Check out more information on the Florida/California fundraising hypocrisy or see our press release.

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