The San Francisco Chronicle has an article today about a consumer group that has mounted an advertising campaign against retailer Target for its nearly $300,000 in donations to groups supporting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political initiatives. The group, California Consumers United, has spent $50,000 for a Bay Area radio campaign aimed at seniors to counteract Target’s recent ads intended to lure seniors and families to new pharmacies in its larger stores.
Oh, irony, thy name is Arnold!
The ad slams Schwarzenegger for taking money from drug companies and vetoing a bill that would have made it easier to bring lower-priced drugs into the state from Canada.
It also suggests that Schwarzenegger’s Proposition 76, which would give the governor more control over the state budget, would allow him to slash health care spending.
Since 2004, Target has given $100,000 to Citizens to Save California, which worked to qualify the governor’s initiatives for the special election ballot, and $210,000 to the governor’s California Recovery Team, which supports Schwarzenegger’s political aims.
Target also spent $250,000 to back a referendum that erased a law that would have required many California businesses to provide health care for their workers, $100,000 to the California Business Properties Association, another of Schwarzenegger’s backers, and tens of thousands of dollars to the state Republican and Democratic parties and legislators on both sides of the political aisle.
Typically, Der Gropenator responded by not addressing the validity of the accusations, but accusing his critics.
The consumer group is using “secret money” to buy ads smearing the governor with “false and misleading charges,” said Todd Harris, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger’s political team.
“It’s just a bit ironic and the height of hypocrisy that a group which shields the source of its money would have the gall to lecture anyone about political contributions,” he added.
For the record, groups like California Consumers United are not required to report the source of contributions because they are not directly calling for the election or defeat of a candidate. A spokesman for the group said the $50,000 spent on the radio ads was received from members and supporting organizations.
But the point is not where CCU’s dollars came from. That group is not accountable to the residents of California the way an elected official like, say, the governor, is.