Pataki to Host Big Money Fund-Raiser for Schwarzenegger

Gov. George Pataki (search) is arranging a $50,000-a-person private dinner for fellow Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (searchof California to be held at the Manhattan home of millionaire businessman Robert Wood Johnson IV (search).

An invitation to the Feb. 24 event, a copy of which was obtained Monday by The Associated Press, said the money is being raised to help finance Schwarzenegger's California Recovery Team (search), a general purpose fund-raising committee.

The newly elected California governor is pressing a $15 billion bond issue being voted on next month by Californians. What would be the biggest statwill be the principal organization supporting the implementation of the twin missions of the governor's first year in office -- fiscal recovery and economic recovery," said the invitation sent by Pataki's top fund-raisers. "Since there are March 2, 2004, ballot initiatives that greatly affect the governor's efforts, time is of the essence."

There was no immediate comment from Pataki on how much he hoped to raise to help his fellow governor.

The invitation to cocktails and dinner at the One Central Park West home of Johnson, owner of the New York Jets (search), notes that "this committee can accept unlimited contributions." And while corporate and political action committee contributions are legal, the invitation warns that "single-issue trade association contributions are not allowed."

Donations of up to $500,000 are requested on the invitation. That amounts get the donor named a chairman of the California Recovery Team committee.

There are a "limited number of seats available," the invitation cautions.

Pataki had offered last year to stage fund-raising events for Schwarzenegger in New York, but they agreed to hold them after the former actor took office.