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Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Ministry of Plenty Provides for Everybody!

From the Los Angeles Times:

Gov. to Be Paid $8 Million by Fitness Magazines
The publications rely heavily on advertising for dietary supplements. Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have regulated their use.
By Peter Nicholas and Robert Salladay, Times Staff Writers
July 14th, 2005
Read the full article at latimes.com.

SACRAMENTO — Two days before he was sworn into office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger accepted a consulting job paying an estimated $8 million over five years to "further the business objectives" of a national publisher of health and bodybuilding magazines.

The contract pays Schwarzenegger 1% of the magazines' advertising revenue, much of which comes from makers of nutritional supplements. Last year, the governor vetoed legislation that would have imposed government regulations on the supplement industry.

According to records filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Schwarzenegger entered into the agreement with a subsidiary of American Media Inc. on Nov. 15, 2003. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company publishes Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines, among others.

Watchdog groups and state lawmakers called the contract — which refers to Schwarzenegger as "Mr. S" — a conflict of interest.

Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C., said: "This is one of the most egregious apparent conflicts of interest that I have seen. This calls into question his judgment as to who he is working for, and it calls into question what he thinks he owes the public."

He added: "For a governor to have … contracted his decision-making and judgment to a company is a real conflict of interest."

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