Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, have benefited from nonprofit organizations funded in part by the state's largest electric utilities and other energy companies. Some of these donations were revealed in the media this week. However, California <i>Energy Circuit<\/i> found more energy company donations to a charity linked to the administration. In addition to the California Commission on Jobs and Economic Growth, to which Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison had each donated $100,000, the governor is also connected to the Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women and Families, which, according to its Web site, receives $25,000 in annual donations from both PG&E and Edison. That event receives its biggest sponsorship from BP, at $250,000 per year. Chevron also donates. Neither PG&E nor Edison would comment on their donations, but BP admitted that its contributions could improve its access to the political process. Phil Cochrane, BP's West Coast public affairs director, said his company ceased all political contributions worldwide in 2002. However, it inherited the obligation to sponsor the conference, he said, when it bought ARCO in 2000. Cochrane insisted that the donations were not political contributions. But, he conceded, "Obviously this would build goodwill with whoever is in the governor's office. I wouldn?t say it's hurt us." Donations to nonprofits are outside campaign finance restrictions. There are no reporting requirements and no limit to the size or frequency of the gifts. Nonprofits must spend the money in line with their missions and may not overtly campaign for a candidate. However, they may hold events that can implicitly endorse a candidate, such as inaugurations and economic development trips. They can also give donations and awards on behalf of the politicians. Robert Stern, president of Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies, a watchdog group, said these nonprofit donations were not campaign contributions but are still suspect. "You curry favor any time you provide services to someone," he said. The governor's campaign office does not have access to conference donations, but the conference itself has become a part of his ongoing political efforts. Last year's conference became memorable when he dismissed a picket by the California Nurses Association by saying, "I kick their butts every day." Public utilities are required to disclose all charitable contributions over $500 to the state when they file taxes each year. However, those records do not become public for another year. The most recent records available are from 2003. Records for last year will become available next summer.