Whitman spends more, attacks Brown's financial aid plan

Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 18, 2010, 10:32am


SACRAMENTO (Legal Newsline) - California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has contributed another $20 million to her own campaign.

The former eBay CEO's latest contribution was made last week, on Tuesday night, while much of the focus was on her debate with Democratic opponent and state Attorney General Jerry Brown. The two participated in an hour-long debate at Dominican University in San Rafael that day.

The Republican has now contributed nearly $140 million of her own money to her campaign, according to Politico.

Last month, Whitman became the biggest U.S. campaign self-spender ever, after bringing her total contributions to $119,075,806.11.

Whitman has surpassed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who invested $110 million of his own money to win a close race last year.

She has said she will spend "whatever it takes" to win.

And, according to a recent campaign report, Whitman has spent $140 million, with $90 million going to a firm that does her radio and television ads.

While Brown has been considerably outspent, he still has a slight lead over Whitman in a number of recent polls.

Also, Whitman attacked Brown over comments he made over the weekend, calling for financial aid and in-state tuition breaks for undocumented immigrants.

On Friday night Brown visited UCLA for a rally led by former President Bill Clinton.

At the rally, Brown said:

"We have enough wealth to continue to have a great university and get every kid into this school that can qualify. Now when I say every young man and young woman, I mean everyone -- whether they are documented or not. If they went to school, they ought to be here. And that will be one of the first bills I sign."

The former governor also spoke of his plans to back the so-called Dream Act, legislation that would grant citizenship to U.S. high school graduates who were brought into the country illegally as children if they complete two years in college or the military.

In response to his remarks, Whitman pointed to the state's current economy.

"The state of California is in economic meltdown, and one of Jerry Brown's top priorities is to give financial aid and in-state tuition breaks to undocumented immigrants," Whitman said.

"He not only supports legislation that would enable that type of state spending, he said it would be 'one of the first bills' he'd sign.

"It's either reckless mismanagement of taxpayer dollars or political pandering for votes. The truth is the state can't afford either right now," she said in a statement.

The former eBay CEO said Brown's position is "unfair" to taxpayers and to those students and families who are legal residents.

"As I've said consistently throughout this campaign, I believe that in this time of fiscal crisis and strain on our public colleges and universities, our priority must be to help kids who are legal residents go to state supported colleges," she said.

"Jerry Brown just doesn't get it. If you play by the rules, you and your kids should be at the front of the line to benefit from the state's world-class university system.

Whitman, herself, is still embroiled in her own undocumented immigrant controversy.

Nicky Diaz Santillan, Whitman's former housekeeper, made allegations late last month that the billionaire knew she was an illegal immigrant while she was employed.

Whitman has repeatedly denied knowing that Diaz Santillan was undocumented until shortly before she was let go in 2009, after nine years of working for Whitman and her husband.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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