Thursday, December 22, 2005
Here's an interesting article that lists Schwarzenegger's excessive fundraising as a big reason for his loss of support among independent voters:
"Schwarzenegger lost important support among the state's independent voters, who now make up almost a quarter of the electorate and serve as the swing voters in state elections. According to voting analyst Mark Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute of California, they are primarily white, middle-class suburbanites who are socially liberal and fiscally moderate and who fear that government and the parties have been captured by special interests. In the October 2003 exit polls, 54 percent of them favored a recall, and they backed Schwarzenegger over his nearest rival by 15 percent. But, as Schwarzenegger began touring nationally to raise money from wealthy donors for his initiatives, erstwhile supporters like Derek Cressman, director of the nonpartisan watchdog group TheRestofUs.org, expressed their disillusionment. "He told us that he would not need to take money from special interests," Cressman wrote on his organization's website last February, "Yet now he's become the Donald Trump of campaign cash--he just can't get enough." Schwarzenegger's following among independents fell accordingly. In a mid-June Field poll, only 36 percent of moderates and 35 percent of independents said they would vote for his reelection. "
As Greg Lucas reports in the San Francisco Chronicle, federal auditors have reported finding some $3.8 million in California's HAVA funds that were misspent or not properly accounted for under former California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.
Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002 to assist states in increasing voter turnout, voting access, and the accuracy of vote tabulation. Each state's top elections official was responsible for disbursing the funds received under the program.
As California's Secretary of State, Kevin Shelley was responsible for making sure that funds were spent to further the purposes of HAVA. However, under Shelley's eye, some of the money was spent on activities that promoted his party (Democrat) and that furthered Shelley's own political ambitions.
Shelley resigned earlier this year after a series of scandals which included the misspending of HAVA funds, in addition to illegal fundraising in his public office, illegally laundered contributions to his campaign, and allegations of harassment by a former staffer. The scandals have overshadowed Shelley's very pro-democracy efforts in ensuring voter verified paper trails in California.