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Golf tournament nets $62,000 in contributions for Bond's Senate race

Friday, July 24, 1998

By Tim Poor
Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond doesn't play golf, but he came away from a tournament last month with more than $62,000 for his Senate campaign.

The contributions - mostly from business-related political action committees - represented one of the biggest chunks of money reported this week by Bond's re-election campaign. The Missouri Republican raised more money from the event than all but one of the 18 Republican senate candidates who participated.

The golf tournament, held June 12-14 in Williamsburg, Va., is hosted annually by Sens. Don Nickles, R-Okla., and John Warner, R-Va. It is put on by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on whose executive committee Bond sits.

This year's event raised $860,000 and has distributed $645,000 so far.

In addition to the golf, the tournament included tennis, a reception, dinner and a breakfast at which lobbyists and senators could schmooze.

Of the 59 PACs that contributed to Bond at the event, the largest - $5,000 - came from Newport News Shipbuilding. The American Council of Life Insurance gave $3,500; the National Mining Association and Blue Cross & Blue Shield each gave $2,000. Many of the rest gave $1,000. They included the American Sheep Industry Association and the Bankers Roundtable.

Brown & Williamson Tobacco PAC contributed $1,000 to the Warner/Nickles committee, and the Tobacco Institute gave $3,000. Bond didn't get any of that money, according to the records. He stopped taking campaign contributions from tobacco companies last year.

The Williamsburg fund-raiser was held while the Senate was debating the tobacco bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who also attended the event. Three days later, Bond - who had previously spoken favorably about the bill - joined Warner, Nickles and most of his other Republican colleagues in voting to kill it.

Nickles got the most money from the event, $66,659. Warner, who is not running for re-election this year, got $16,034. McCain and most of the rest got about $30,000.

David Israelite, Bond's campaign manager, said Bond did especially well at the event because "he's in a competitive race and the participants think he's a good senator . . . they want to keep him there."

Chuck Hatfield, the campaign manager for Bond's Democratic opponent, Jay Nixon, said the PAC money was evidence that Bond was out of touch with Missourians.

"The people that really want Kit Bond to come back to Senate are lobbyists," he said. "I don't think those people necessarily reflect what voters in the state want."

Israelite replied that Nixon himself had attended Washington fund-raisers. "He's spent more time in Washington raising money than he's spent in Missouri courtrooms this year," he said.

Nixon has got $103,000 from PACs this year, while Bond has netted more than $500,000. Bond currently has $3.1 million in cash on hand, compared with about $1 million for Nixon.

Joel Wood is a lobbyist who attended the event on behalf of the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers. He says PAC money "represents the collective contributions of thousands of individual human beings . . . they are the cleanest dollars in campaigns."

One issue the insurance brokers are interested in is the Superfund, the federal pot of money that pays for the cleanup of hazardous waste.

"Bond has been sympathetic," Wood said.

The senator's support is important because he chairs the Senate committee that handles spending bills for the Environmental Protection Agency.

The $62,000 Bond got from the event in Williamsburg was a fraction of the more than $500,000 he got from PACs so far this year.

Bond reported $608,000 in contributions from individuals.

Contributors included some prominent African-American leaders in St. Louis,
including $2,000 from James H. Buford, president of the Urban League of St.
Louis; and $500 each from Dr. James A. DeClue, chairman of the St. Louis
NAACP's education committee, and the Rev. James F. DeClue, the former president
of the local chapter.

Copyright (c) 1998, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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