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0.410,0,10Wielw , cost of campaigning Houston, Austin Trying to determine the cost of a political campaign is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces. It is virtually impossible to get an accurate itemization of the money spent on behalf of a candidate. Chances are the candidate is not sure himself. Although state and federal laws require that candidates file reports stating the amounts they receive in contributions and loans and the amounts they spend, the reports are sketchy. The federal Corrupt Practices Act, written in 1925, places a ceiling of $25,000 on a candidate’s total spending in general elections \(primaries are $5,000 in House contests, but congressmen simply handle election costs through campaign committees which aren’t covered by the law. Thus, G.O.P. senatorial candidate George Bush could say in his report to the secretary of the Senate, “No contributions were received by the candidate or by any person for him,” despite the fact that he received, according to the report filed with the Texas secretary of state, contributions of $800,206 in the general election and $168,538.07 in the primary. Senator-elect Lloyd Bentsen likewise reported to the secretary of the Senate no personal campaign contributions or expenditures. “Since the statutory provisions apply only to the candidate and not the campaign committees which support his candidacy, this report does not encompass money received or expended on behalf of the candidate by campaign committees,” Bentsen’s report explained. The Democratic winner reported to the secretary of state some $463,685 in donations during the general election and a total expenditure of $1,030,911.71 for the primary and the general election. ALTHOUGH TEXAS candidates are required to file statements with the secretary of state, the reports are not as revealing as they might be. Shy contributors often give donations in the name of a campaign group, such as Citizens for Bush or Bentsen, thus eluding the intent of the law to make public the name of donors. Bentsen listed with the secretary of state $111,663.54 in committee donations for the general election and more than $104,000 in committee gifts for the primary. Included was $5,000 from NAPACT, $500 from CITGO in El Paso, $1,000 from CITGO in Dallas, $3,500 from TAPE, Bob Lilly, chairman, in. San Antonio, and $2,500 from TEXPAC. None of these, initialed organizations are identified in the expenditure report. TEXPAC is the medical arm of the Texas Medical Association \(It is so identified on mystery, at least to the public. Most of the committees bear such names as Young Businessmen for Bentsen or Friends of Lloyd Bentsen. Bush listed $129,127.97 in donations from committees during the general election. Some of the donations listed by Bush are quite small, like a $25 gift from the Richardson Republican Women’s Club. Others, however, are substantial. TEXPAC, for example, gave Bush $8,500 and the Bexar County Citizens for Bush donated $12,500. Another convenient way for a donor to make this gift anonymous is to contribute at a fund-raising dinner. Bentsen reports receiving $201,631.79 from a single “victory” dinner in Houston. EVEN WHEN the contributors are named, they may be difficult to identify. Candidates apparently may make their reports as vague as they wish. Once reports are filed, the secretary of state and the attorney general ignore them. Interpretation of the reports is left up to the press and the public. While Bush listed most of his contributors by their full names, street addresses, home towns, and zip codes, Bentsen listed only an initial, a last name, and a city. And while Bush and Gov. Preston Smith gave fairly detailed accounts of how and where they spent their campaign money, Bentsen made listings under generalized headings such as “Advertising and holding political meetings, dinners, conventions, and payment of speakers and musicians.” Spotty as the records may be, they are interesting. Preston Smith’s campaign report was especially revealing, for he listed donations from corporations which are probably just being honest. The governor listed total campaign contributions for the general election of $812,812.45 and total payments of $864,042.57. This would make him the biggest spender in the general election. Bush recorded spending $825,303 and Bentsen, $489,329. These records are rather surprising, because Bush and Bentsen appeared to get a great deal more public exposure for their money than did Smith. The senatorial candidates seemed to be doing more campaigning \(Obs., commercials, more news releases, more staff members. They did more traveling than Smith. Yet, if their campaign reports are to be believed, they managed to spend less money than the governor. For all the candidates, the biggest expense was advertising. According to The Washington Post, in the off-year congressional elections of 1966, broadcast spending rose 60% over 1962. The 1968 presidential campaign broadcasting costs shot up 70% over 1964, and costs are still rising. For the general election, Smith reported an outlay of $250,171 to Jerry ‘Conn Communications, the Austin-based firm that traditionally does his media work. He also spent $17,000 with Ben Kaplan Associates, a Houston PR firm, and $2,7$3 with Ken Cook Advertising. Since the governor was unopposed in the Democratic primary, he spent little during the spring. Bush said he paid Glenn Advertising of Houston $485,772.32 for services during the general election and the primary. Another $62,064.65 went to the Austin public relations firm of Collins-Knaggs and Associates. Bentsen had no specific listing for advertising, but the total for “advertising, holding political meetings, conventions, dinners, payment of speakers and musicians” was $686,004.31 for the primary and the general election. In order to get a more specific idea of how much was spent on advertising, an Observer reporter checked the records of all four Houston television stations and a sampling of Houston radio stations. Houston media men said it was not an unusually profitable political year for them, but the advertising sums spent by statewide and local campaigners were healthy. In Houston, Bush led the spending with a total of $85,577 at the three major TV stations during the primary and general elections. Bill Archer, the Republican who won Bush’s old congressional seat, was second in tube expenditures with $74,037.40. Bentsen was third with $55,462.50 and Smith was last with a paltry $18,406. Sen. Ralph Yarborough, defeated by Bentsen in the Democratic primary, spent $8,987 at the three TV stations as compared to Bentsen, who laid out $11,555 during the primary. December 11, 1970 3