Governor Schwarzenegger's Office of Protocol is a 501 (c) (3) organization and raises funds from individuals, corporations, and other foundations that will be used to pay for State events that a particular department of the government would pay for traditionally. Those state events include paying for top-of-the-line private jets like the plush Gulfstream models Governor Schwarzenegger uses for his travels; and the hotel suites he likes to stay in, such as The Royal Livingstone Hotel. Here, he not only stayed in the Presidential Suite, he had them install floor to ceiling mirrors for his stay.
Nonprofit watchdogs say using charitable write-offs to pay for sumptuous travel is an abuse of tax codes.
"Wow, that's a problem," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy. "Why should our tax dollars subsidize his lavish lifestyle?"
AH-nold is a very wealthy man - and still he bills his overseas travel to this nonprofit group. The Office of Protocol can qualify its secret donors for full tax deductions, just as if they were giving to skid row shelters or the United Way. Charities are not governed by the same disclosure rules as campaign donations are, so people can contribute to this obscure little non-profit in order to influence the Governor, and obtain favors from him. What a nifty little trick he's got going for himself! I can see it now: "You want me to approve that? Sure. I'm taking the family to Europe for the summer, just make a donation to the OOP."
Or should that be "OOPS?"