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Schwarzenegger received more than $585,000 in gifts

March 2, 2010 |  6:12 am

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger received gifts worth more than $585,000 last year, most of it travel costs paid for by a nonprofit group of supporters to cover trips that he and his entourage took to Germany, Denmark, Israel and Iraq.

California’s top official also was showered by dozens of other gifts, including boxes of cigars, bottles of Schnapps and wine, jackets, books, pictures and even action figures from a Japanese toy company, he reported in an annual report he filed Monday with the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The givers included the king and queen of Jordan, Austrian leaders, fitness guru Jack LaLanne, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, said she was concerned about payment of the governor’s travel by the nonprofit California State Protocol Foundation, which accepts money from special interests with business before the state. She said it was an indirect way for groups to try to influence the governor.

But Aaron McLear, a spokesman for the governor, defended using a nonprofit to pay for the governor’s travel. "The governor is interested in saving taxpayer dollars whenever he can so he’s happy that, just as they have done for past governors, the Protocol Foundation funds overseas trips," McLear said.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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