Source Pravda.Ru

California treasurer wants Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to disclose sources of foreign-travel funds

State Treasurer Phil Angelides on Monday called for legislation that would require disclosure of all private contributions used to pay for foreign travel by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Angelides, one of two Democratic candidates looking to challenge Schwarzenegger's re-election next year, questioned whether the governor had reported all sources of private money used to pay for his recent six-day trade mission to China.

"The public interest is served by more openness and transparency in government, not more shadows and secrets," Angelides said in a telephone news conference with reporters.

The treasurer said he had no specific evidence of anything improper, but he cited media reports that showed as many as two dozen members of the trade delegation contributed a combined $2.5 million (Ђ2.13 million) to the governor's political campaigns. Aides to the governor said most sources of money for the trip have been or will be disclosed.

One source is private money donated to a special account for trade promotion held by the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. Spokesman Chris Nance said the agency has not completed an accounting of how much money was spent during the trip and who contributed but will have a report available soon. About $250,000 (Ђ213,201) came from a federal grant used to promote agricultural products.

Two nonprofit groups with close ties to the administration also helped pay for the trip but neither has released its list of contributors. The California Protocol Foundation, which sought contributions of $50,000 (Ђ42,640) for the trip, is run under the auspices of the California Chamber of Commerce and is not required to release the names of its contributors.

The California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth, which Schwarzenegger helped found two years ago but no longer has any authority over, also is not required to release its supporters and has declined so far to do so. Spokesman Rufus Jeffris said the organization intends to report its contributors soon, the AP reports. Angelides said he does not yet have a sponsor for his proposed bill.

A.M.

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