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THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 West 7 Austin Tx 78701 14 The Texas Observer Bentsen’s bucks By Tina May Washington, D.C. Despite U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s claim that his 1976 presidential campaign is national in scope, financial records show that almost half of the individual contributions he has received this year have come from Texans. According to reports filed with the Federal Elections Texas have contributed nearly $230,000 of the $474,000 he has collected nationally since January. The same records show that in 1973 and 1974 an even larger proportion of Bentsen’s campaign bankroll came from Texas. Larry Letscher, comptroller for the campaign, said Texans made 95 percent of the first two years’ contributions. Most of the Texas money collected this year came from residents of Houston, Dallas, and McAllen the state’s two largest cities and a major metropolitan area in Bentsen’s old congressional district. Most of his contributors listed their occupations as rancher, attorney, or corporation employee \(often in real more than $25,000 was from individuals listed as independent oil operators or those employed in oil-related enterprises. Federal law prohibits contribution by corporations but does not forbid individual contributions by any number of corporate employees. Bentsen’s campaign has received several such clusters of money. For example, six executives of Armco Steel in Houston, the country’s fifth largest steel company, contributed a total of $3,000, including $500 each from George Hansen, a vice-president, and from Robert Harris, general manager of the firm’s oil industry division. Three of the four partners of the Houston law firm of Liddell, Sapp, Zivley, and Brown gave $1,000 each \(the largest contribution LaBoon, another member of the same firm, added $1,000 more. Another large sum came from persons connected with Medico, Inc., a retail drug company. Company President R. D. Winn, a Pharr resident, contributed $1,000. So did William R. Duck, Medico’s May is a reporter for the Capitol Hill News Service, which organization made this story available to the Observer as well as to its other subscribers in Texas. CHNS is an independent news bureau which furnishes reports to newspapers in seven states, concentrating on those areas in which few papers send their own correspondents to Washington. The service was started with a grant from Ralph Nader’s group, Public Citizen, and continues to receive about 15 percent of its funding from that organization. CHNS is, however, editorially independent of Nader. Although Lloyd Bentsen has collected nearly $2 million in campaign funds in three years, his total of contributions ranks behind and George Wallace. Jackson supporters have contributed $2.3 million since he began raising funds in 1974. That year he collected $1.1 million almost all of it in the last four months of the year. Wallace has not officially declared his candidacy, but he has taken in more money than either Bentsen or Jackson. Since his official campaign organization \(George the Alabama governor has raised $3.4 million. He also leads the way in 1975 contributions. While he has taken in $1.67 million since January, Jackson has collected $1.2 million and Bentsen $496,000. Bentsen has spent $1.2 million on his campaign since 1973, the same amount Jackson has spent in 18 months. Wallace has spent $2.8 million so far more than Bentsen and Jackson combined. T.M. vice-president, and his wife. So did Winn’s wife, who is Bentsen’s sister, and the Winns’ three children. Five other members of the Bentsen family are also listed as contributing $1,000 each. Other large contributors include: Paul Thayer of Dallas, chairman of the board of LTV Corp., $1,000. Searcy Bracewell of Houston, conservative business lobbyist and a leader of efforts to defeat the new state constitution, $1,000. Former State Sen. Mike McKool of Dallas, a liberal and a three-time congressional candidate, $500. William Fredeman, president of the Port Arthur Towing Co. and a member of the Texas Offshore Terminal Commission, $1,000. Evelyn S. Frensley of Houston, wife of Herbert Frensley, who is president of Brown & Root, $1,000. In all, 106 Texans made $1,000 contributions in 1975, records show. More than 600 other supporters contributed sums less than $1,000 but more than $100 this year. Although Bentsen officially declared his candidacy in February of this year, FEC reports show he has been collecting money since 1973, under various campaign organization titles. Two years ago an entity called “A Fall Evening With the Bentsens Committee” collected $432,000, more thah three-quarters of it given at a fund-raising dinner in late December. Last year the “Bentsen Committee Fund” raised $674,000.
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