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Ways and Means will lose their seats or stop wielding considerable power. But it will make it harder for younger Texans to win key slots, Erben says. The Appropriations and Ways and Means committees, arguably the two most powerful, have four and three Texans respectively more than the number of New Yorkers and equal to the number of Californians. Two of the three Democrats on Appropriations, and one of the two Democrats on Ways and Means, were put there by Wright. Most observers agree there will not be a rush of new Texans on important committees in the near future. But for the time being, the groundwork done long ago by electing people to Congress early and keeping them there continues to play to the state’s advantage. The chairmen of the House Banking, Judiciary, and Agriculture Committees, the Ranking Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee chairman, are all Texans. Not even counting the help from the Bush Texas contingent, which includes Texans heading the White House, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Departments of State, Education, and Commerce, the Lone Star State is better represented than any other. This fact will be tested in the next few years. President Bush is expected to ask for increasing amounts of money for the supercollider at a time when budgets are getting tighter. As Chapman said, “Congress is perfectly capable of walking away from the supercollider.” Furthermore, several Texas cities, especially Fort Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso, with economies heavily reliant on the military either because of bases or military contractors could see local federal spending reduced. With peace breaking out all over the world, and even hawkish Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney said to be considering cuts as high as $180 billion in the Pentagon budget by 1994, the Texas delegation will have a tough time maintaining the flow of federal dollars into the state. Rep. Marvin Leath, who announced recently he would not run for re-election in 1990. With $487,128, Leath has the second largest campaign fund behind Archer. A Leath spokesman says he did not know what the Waco Democrat planned to do with the money, and Leath did not return several phone calls. The practice was banned in 1979, in a post-Watergate frenzy of ethics legislation, but those voting for the ban exempted themselves. That so-called “grandfather clause” was repealed earlier this month in the pay-raise and ethics bill passed by Congress. But even that won’t take effect until 1993. Rep. Martin Frost, the Dallas Democrat who helped draft the bill, did not name those pushing for the delay, but said lawmakers set the later deadline to accommodate those who could be hurt by redistricting. “They’re gonna sell the housing units at a small fraction of their value. It means very little to the S&L insurance fund. . . ” The move to repeal the grandfather clause gained momentum under pressure from such public interest groups as Common Cause, Frost said. The skyrocketing costs of campaigns and growing campaign reserves also fueled the move for repeal. “Prior to recent years, I don’t think people had large amounts in the accounts carried over from year to year,” Frost says. In the past nine years, however, numerous Congressmen have unabashedly converted campaign funds. In 1984, former Rep. Richard White, an El Paso Democrat, wrote a $40,808 check to himself, stating the money would be “utilized to pay for moneys borrowed for living expenses while in the U.S. Congress,” according to Common Cause. There were other abuses. Former Rep. L.H. Fountain, a North Carolina Democrat, used his campaign funds to buy himself a Cadillac Coupe de Ville. And John Burton, a California Democrat, used $18,000 of his funds to pay his income taxes, according to Common Cause. Of the nine Texans who could be reached for comment, none said they had any plans to retire and many said they would not want the money if they did. “Charlie is going to stay here until they peel him off the desk,” said a spokesman for Charles Wilson, a Lufkin Democrat. Many also have compelling reasons not to retire, being either too young or too powerful to want to give up their seats for more money. Wilson, Frost, Charles Stenholm, a Stamford Democrat, and Marvin Leath, a Waco Democrat, are still relatively young. Henry Gonzalez, a San Antonio Democrat, Jack Brooks, a Beaumont Democrat, Kika de la Garza, a Mission Democrat, Bill Archer, a Houston Republican, and Jake Pickle, an Austin Democrat, either are chairmen or very senior members on powerful committees. At 76, Pickle is the oldest, but he says he has no intention of keeping his cash and that he supported repealing the grandfather clause. His campaign money could go directly to his estate if he were to die in office. And it’s doubtful that the $1,165 Henry Gonzalez has would affect plans of the 73-year-old Chairman of the House Banking Committee. In short, it looks as though the repeal of the grandfather clause will not have a major impact on the Texas delegation. But what Congressmen say is one thing and what they do is another. White, the El Paso Democrat who kept the vast majority of his funds, had said earlier that all his money would go for a “public use.” IF REP. Bill Archer, a Houston Republican, were to retire at the end of this term he could be very well off indeed. With $612,824, he has the largest campaign war chest of the nine Texas congressmen who legally can convert their contributions into personal pocket money when they leave office. Together, the nine most senior Texans are sitting on $2.3 million in potential Florida condos, money market accounts and ’round-the-world tours. There are just two catches. First, they could have to endure the public scorn that might result from keeping the money . And second, they must pocket the money by the end of the 1992 session. Neither of these proved an obstacle for Data Processing Typesetting Printing Mailing FUTUM COMMUNICATIONS, INC 3019 Alvin DeVane Suite 500 Austin, Texas 78741 Fax 512.389.0867 512.389.1500 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17