Government watchdogs are concerned that a shadowy nonprofit that finances Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lavish international trips may also allow special interests to donate big bucks to the governor in return for political favors — and all without any public accountability.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a 501c(3) charity, the California State Protocol Foundation, spent $1.3 million in 2006 alone to pay for the governor’s private jets and luxurious hotel suites when Schwarzenegger travels abroad, even though he is personally wealthy.
The group is closely connected with the California Chamber of Commerce, and pays all the bills the governor submits without itemization.
The foundation won’t reveal who its donors are, but a spokesman suggested the charity was actually sparing taxpayers from having to foot the governor’s travel bill.
Watchdogs say the public ought to pay for such official trips, since it would keep Schwarzenegger from spending so much money.
“Nonprofit subsidizes Schwarzenegger travel frills”
Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2007