SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) said Friday that he will end his multimillion-dollar consulting deal with two fitness magazines that rely heavily on advertising for nutritional supplements.
The governor, who came under fire when critics said the deal represented a conflict of interest, said he will relinquish his title as executive editor of Muscle & Fitness (search) and Flex (search) magazines and forego any compensation.
"I don't want to be paid," Schwarzenegger said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
The governor was forced to defend his contract with the magazines after a securities disclosure filed this week showed he would be paid at least $1 million a year for five years to act as a consultant.
"The decision is to discontinue the relationship we have now," he said. "I will continue promoting body building and fighting obesity."
Last year, Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have regulated the use of performance-enhancing substances in high school sports.
That led some lawmakers to accuse the governor of having a conflict of interest: acting on legislation that could hurt the nutritional supplements industry while at the same taking millions of dollars from magazines that rely on the industry for most of their profits.
On Friday, Schwarzenegger said he wanted to leave no doubt that "the people have my full devotion."
Schwarzenegger's deal with a subsidiary of American Media Inc., Weider Publications (search), was disclosed in March 2004. But the amount he was being paid was not made public until the company filed documents Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
At the time of the 2004 announcement, Schwarzenegger said he would take a salary that was "petty compared to the movies." The magazines also agreed to donate $250,000 a year to the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness.