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The ninth annual Offshore Technology Conference met in Houston ten days after Phillips Petroleum’s Bravo-14 well blew out in Norway’s Ekofisk Field. The well spouted some three million dollars’ worth of oil in a week’s time, slicking 2,100 square miles of the North Sea. You might think it strange, then, that Phillips received the conference’s Distinguished Achievement Award for its work in the selfsame Ekofisk Field. When both the Houston Chronicle and The Houston Post published two OTC-oriented ad and promotion supplements each, fluff pieces on Phillips appeared on the front pages of all four sections, thereby making the dailies co-winners of this month’s prize for gall. ‘ma g i! Back in the news is U.S. Rep. John Young, the Corpus Christi Demo crat whose former secretary, Colleen Gardner, last year accused him of placing her on the payroll for “sexual favors” and not much else. Young rode out that storm the Justice Department dropped its investigaton and this year even won a coveted seat on the new House energy committee. Add to that the latest Congressional pay raise from $44,625 to $57,500 -and one would think the South Texas Democrat would have nary a worry. But it turns out that Young is impoverished. He says his legal expenses from the Gardner episode will cost him at least $50,000 and that his meager salary even with this year’s 29 percent boost is “unrealistic.” To escape pauperism, Young has transferred $25,000 in excess campaign funds to his personal bank account. The indigent congressman made the transaction on Feb. 1, deftly getting in under the wire of a new ethics code banning such use of campaign contributions. Young, who says he will pay taxes on the money, has nonetheless asked the Internal Revenue Service to allow him a tax deduction. After all, he says, he’s using the money for legal expenses. Here they come U.S. Rep. Bob Krueger is ex pected to announce for Sen. John TovVer’s seat at a hometown barbecue in New Braunfels on July 4. On the Republican side, Hank Grover, the G.O.P.’s 1972 gubernatorial candidate \(he won 46 lenge Tower in next year’s party primary if he doesn’t try again for the governorship. “My chances of beating Tower are the strongest because everybody’s mad at Tower,” Grover told The Dallas Times Herald. “There’s been no growth in the party since he was first elected.” Republican possibilities for the governor’s mansion include, besides Grover, former GOP national chairman George Bush and former ambassador to Britain Anne Armstrong. Bob Bullock, Texas’ rampaging comptroller of public accounts, has already announced for re-election, the first statewide candidate to declare. “Everyone plays musical chairs, waiting to see what [an incumbent] is going to do,” Bullock says. But filing for a race “separates . . . the talkers and the doers.” His early announcement has scared off some lesser lights, including House ways and means chairman Joe Wyatt, who says, “I think anyone who wants to run against Bullock ought to take the thousand-dollar filing fee and spend it on a psychiatrist.” Bullock’s revitalization of the comptroller’s office and the $160 million in delinquent tax accounts the office has .collected will make him tough to beat, but he says, “I’m confident I’ll have a pretty strong Republican opponent. I want a good one I’d love to run against Ray Hutchison.” \(Hutchison, the state party chair, is also mentioned as a possibility for the attorney general’s Until an opponent appears, Bullock will campaign a couple days a week on his record. “I’ll stand behind and on it. You can see my record in dollars and cents in the state treasury,” he says. “If I do a good job in this office that’s the best re-election program you can have.” And looking to the future, he adds, “I’d like to be governor of Texas some day, and I hope to be some day.” Still, Ford vs. Reagan Texas Republicans spoke of unity but practiced division at an April 29-May 1 conference in Dallas sponsored by the Texas Conservative Union and the Young Americans for Freedom. Participants discussed Republican strategy for the 1978 elections. Conspicuously absent were state party chairman Ray Hutchinson and several prominent Dallas Republicans who had supported Gerald Ford in his unsuccessful Texas primary race with Ronald Reagan last year. The conference was something of a reunion of Reagan’s campaign workers, and organizers whispered of a boycott by Ford Republicans. In a telephone conversation with the Observer, Hutchinson dismissed any talk of a factional boycott and said that, on the contrary, he couldn’t recall a time when Texas Republicans were closer to unity. “Any suspected divisions are just figments of the imagination,” he said. Political Intelligence