He’s lending money to his own campaign. [*] Not only is this an apparent violation of a voter-passed state law, it creates an extremely precarious ethical situation once he’s governor. At that point, contributions to his campaign that allow it to repay the loan are in effect going directly into the Governor’s pocket. There’s surely a difference between a payment that goes directly into an official’s pocket and an outright bribe, but you’d probably need a degree in theology to define what it is. Davis has been infamous as the coin-operated governor, but at least the coins weren’t swelling his own bank account.
Of course, Schwarzenegger is too rich to care; but that makes his apparent violation of the law even more intolerable. He’s given evidence throughout his career that he thinks rules are for little people, not for the ubermenschen.
I’d love to hear from legal experts on why the judge gave A.S. a pass (by deferring a hearing until after the election) and cracked down on Bustamante on a different campaign finance issue. Were the two cases easily distinguishable legally?
One thing I’m sure of: when Schwarzenegger’s campaign flack cited the judge’s decision as evidence the loans were legal, he was fibbing. There are lots of things that are illegal that a judge won’t block by issuing a Temporary Restraining Order; that’s an extraordinary step. It’s pretty clear from the story that the loans violate a bright-line rule, and will eventually, after Schwarzenegger is safely in office, be found to have been illegal.
And of course the reporter didn’t bother to call a lawyer to nail that lie down.