A Alan Pogue up to the “leadership PAC.” This is a money funnel engineered by congressional Republicans through which corporations could legally pour $5,000 at a time into the coffers of key lawmakers. Newt Gingrich had his GOPAC, Trent Lott has his New Republican Majority Fund, Speaker Dennis Hastert has the Keep Our Majority PAC, Republican whip Tom DeLay has ROMP-PAC \(Retain the impeachment case against Clinton have their own house manager’s PAC. It didn’t take long for presidential possibles to sniff out this new sack, realizing not only that a leadership PAC would allow them to take in merely $1,000 each from contributors to their campaign fund, but the same people could also give $5,000 each to their PAC, which can be used to pay expenses for their presidential ramblings. A good loophole gets around, and all the 2000 wannabes quickly established leadership PACs to inject more dollar-fuel into their campaigns from big money interests: Dan Quayle sacked up more than $6 million in his Campaign America PAC before he dropped out, Bill Bradley’s Time Future PAC has about $2 million in it, and Lamar Alexander loaded more than $5 million into his Campaign for a New American Century PAC, before he packed in his candidacy. Al Gore has a PAC, too, named Friends of Al Gore, Jr. Inc. Deciding early on that this was a bit stiff and corporate, even for Al, the PAC was renamed Leadership 98, apparently oblivious to the fact that the name had a built-in Y2K problem. What the hell, said one of Gore’s political operatives to the New York Times, “We’re more concerned with the purpose than the name.” Fair enough. The purpose is to bag as much special-interest cash as quickly as possible, and Leadership 98 has bagged $4 million, including $5,000 each from the top executives of Netscape, 3Com, Bell Atlantic, Lucent Technologies, Lazard Freres, SunAmerica, AT&T, Disney, Goldman Sachs, MG, Dow Jones, Travelers, Cablevision, Prudential, Dreamworks, Rite Aid, Playboy, Merrill Lynch, Northwest Airlines, Bear Stearns, Qualcomm, America Online, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Genentech, Bankers Trust \(now Deutsche ment, BankAmerica, Solomon Smith Barney, SmithKline Beecham, Enron, Pfizer, Lockheed Martin, Miramax, Lehman Brothers, and BellSouth. In many cases, the spouses of theses executives also chipped in $5,000. Other family members did, too. So did business partners and fellow executives. It’s hard to know how many babies, nannies, and pets are on the list \(there’s a “Candy,” a “Tandy,” a “Bud,” a “Dixie,” and a couple of “Bobs” that look susStill, even sacking up money in $5,000 batches can be slower and more tiresome than some of today’s go-go candidates want to mess with in their search for $20-55 million, so they sicced their green-eyeshade boys on the election laws once again to see if they could find still more ways around the rules and grab some really big money. Leave it to Lamar! Lamar Alexander the former Tennessee governor, GOP cabinet member, and second-time presidential runner has a history of political slickness that makes Bill Clinton look like a straight shooter. When he announced his 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 3, 2000
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