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N.Y. Gov. Raises Funds for Schwarzenegger

February 5, 2004

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Gov. George Pataki is co-hosting a fund-raising dinner for fellow Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California at which guests are being asked to donate up to $500,000.

The minimum ticket price is $50,000 a person.

The event is scheduled for Feb. 24 at the New York City home of billionaire businessman Robert Wood Johnson IV, owner of football’s New York Jets.

``It makes a mockery of our campaign finance laws,″ said Rachel Leon, head of the New York chapter of Common Cause.

New York Public Interest Group lobbyist Blair Horner, who has tracked political fund-raising in New York for 25 years, called the $500,000 figure ``eye-popping.″

An invitation, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, said the money is being raised to help finance Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery Team, a general purpose fund-raising committee.

Schwarzenegger is trying to get the voters in California to approve $15 billion in borrowing next month to help ease the state’s fiscal crisis. It would be the biggest state bond issue in U.S. history.

The invitations to cocktails and dinner went out to about 25 people. For a donation of $500,000, the contributor will be named a chairman of the California Recovery Team committee.

While in New York, Schwarzenegger also planned to participate in a fund-raiser for the Manhattan GOP.

``Gov. Pataki believes Gov. Schwarzenegger is bringing bold ideas and a fresh perspective to California and looks forward to having him here in New York to support both his efforts and the efforts of the Manhattan Republican Party,″ Pataki spokeswoman Lisa Dewald Stoll said Thursday.

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