Climate changed by cash and war
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Sacramento News & Review
Oct 03, 2002

by Capitol Bites

Climate changed by cash and war

Whistle-blowing: Governor Gray Davis didn't just veto Senate Bill 783, the toughest corporate accountability bill that passed out of the Legislature this year after a difficult battle SN&R profiled in the August 29 cover story "Attack on Big Business."

No, instead, Governor Pay-to-Play waited until Monday's midnight deadline to quietly veto a bill that, just a month and a half earlier, his spokesman Steve Maviglio said Davis was "inclined to sign" because "in this climate, I think that's why you're seeing the support for something like this." That was before the threat of war with Iraq squeezed out corporate wrongdoing as the public's biggest concern.

So, why would Davis wait until the very last minute to act on a bill that used new protections and the threat of fines to encourage corporate executives to report financial fraud in their companies? Given that the bill hadn't changed, what had changed the climate?

Suspecting that Davis saw delaying a decision on this bill as a great way to rake in even more campaign contributions from corporations that wanted to see it vetoed, Bites decided to peruse Davis' recent contribution reports at the Secretary of State's Web site. More than a half-hour later, the long list of contributions was still loading onto Bites' computer, despite a DSL connection to the Internet.

During the month between when the Legislature adjourned and Davis' September 30 deadline for signing or vetoing bills, he raked in millions of dollars in campaign contributions from a wide variety of sources, from union locals to corporate CEOs. September made his previously brisk fund-raising pace look lackadaisical.

Apparently, the veto pen is mightier than just the hat in hand.

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