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<v Cassie>Tonight, we begin a special six part series on money and politics. <v Cassie>We'll look at where campaign contributions come from, how they are spent and the impact <v Cassie>money has on our politics and politicians. <v Cassie>John Palmer reports on the money chase. <v Cassie>John. <v John Palmer>Cassie, there are two parallel campaigns going on in America today. <v John Palmer>One is the race for votes. The other is less visible, but perhaps more important, and <v John Palmer>that is the race for money. You can't chase votes, of course, with an empty wallet. <v John Palmer>The single largest source of campaign dollars is business, but business in America <v John Palmer>is not a monolith. Different businesses support different candidates and parties at <v John Palmer>different times. In future segments, we'll look at how tens of millions <v John Palmer>of dollars in private so-called soft money, that is, contributions that legally <v John Palmer>circumvent laws intended to keep big donations out of presidential politics, <v John Palmer>seep into the race for the White House, a campaign that is supposed to be, by law, <v John Palmer>publicly financed. We'll see how some contributions are targeted to congressional
<v John Palmer>committees rather than congressional candidates and why incumbents, even <v John Palmer>when unopposed, are heavily funded. <v John Palmer>And then we'll look at Ross Perot's, do-it-yourself kind of campaign financing. <v John Palmer>Tonight, kind of an overview, a sort of financial prospectus for American <v John Palmer>politics. Let's start with the race for Congress. <v John Palmer>The average House incumbent raises almost half a million dollars every year, <v John Palmer>and a typical U.S. senator complains he has to raise $12000 <v John Palmer>dollars a week every week for six years just to stay in office. <v John Palmer>And the cost has been going up. <v John Palmer>Take the last presidential race in 1988. Including the primaries and <v John Palmer>the conventions, it cost George Bush and Michael Dukakis a total of $500 <v John Palmer>million. That's 4 times what it cost John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in <v John Palmer>1960, even after the figures are adjusted for inflation. <v John Anderson>1980, which was the year that I ran for president, a total <v John Anderson>of 1.2 billion dollars were spent for elections of all levels
<v John Anderson>of government. By 1988, just 8 years <v John Anderson>later, that figure is reported to have been 2.7 <v John Anderson>billion, and I'm sure that in 1992, it will be over <v John Anderson>3 billion dollars that will be spent for American elections, and that, <v John Anderson>I think, is what drives the American political process today. <v John Anderson>It is money. <v Thomas Ferguson>Look, people appeal to business for money for the same reason that Willie Sutton <v Thomas Ferguson>went to banks for it. I mean, that's where the money is. <v Thomas Ferguson>All right, and uh that's the way we now do politics in this sort of incredibly capital <v Thomas Ferguson>intensive fashion. <v Commercial narrator>To pay for his increased spending in Arkansas, Bill Clinton-- <v John Palmer>Where does all this money go? Television, advertising, fundraising events, <v John Palmer>and administrative overhead, among other things. <v George Bush (on commercial)>Read my lips. <v John Palmer>Critics charge that the money is also used to build up huge war chests to scare <v John Palmer>off potential opponents. But who is paying the bill?
<v Ellen Miller>By far and away, the largest contributors is the business community, both PACs and <v Ellen Miller>individuals. Just no question about it. <v Ellen Miller>When we look on the congressional side, we thought that PACs were out-giving labor- <v Ellen Miller>business PACs were out-giving labor by a factor of 3.5 to 1. <v Ellen Miller>But when we added the individual contributions in, we found that labor was outspent <v Ellen Miller>almost 5 to 1. <v John Palmer>And in soft money contributions so far this year, business-giving has again <v John Palmer>dwarfed labor contributions by a 16 to 1 margin. <v John Palmer>Despite what most people might think, business has been <v John Palmer>very generous with congressional Democrats for years, and in fact, since 1985, <v John Palmer>Democrats have received more business PAC money than Republicans. <v John Palmer>They have also caught up in the soft money sweepstakes. <v John Palmer>To do that, the Democratic Party adopted much more aggressive strategies in the early <v John Palmer>and mid 1980s. Two of the architects of the turnaround were former Congressman <v John Palmer>Tony Coelho, who wasn't afraid to do a little arm twisting, and National
<v John Palmer>Party Chairman Charles Manatt. <v Charles Manatt>As party chairman, it was my role to say, hey, here's uh what the law is and <v Charles Manatt>what the law isn't. If we're going to have a competitive landscape with the Republicans <v Charles Manatt>in direct mail and communications and the party headquarters, we've got to have the <v Charles Manatt>chance to raise those funds that are available to us as the Republicans have <v Charles Manatt>been doing all along. <v Tony Coelho>We went aggressively after the Chamber of Commerce and a little bit after A.M.A. <v Tony Coelho>and the realtors to make an example out of those three groups, <v Tony Coelho>but particularly the Chamber of Commerce. <v Tony Coelho>And we did not participate in any of their TV programs. <v Tony Coelho>We did not go to any of their conferences. <v John Palmer>That kind of hardball tactics worked at the congressional level. <v John Palmer>The presidential story is different. <v John Palmer>It seems to have taken a sweet talking southern governor to get some business elements <v John Palmer>into the Democratic column on the presidential side this year. <v Cassie>John, does this mean there's been a wholesale move by business to the Democrats?
<v John Palmer>Cassie, no, not really at all. The polls still show, indeed, that the uh Republican <v John Palmer>businessmen support President Bush here. <v John Palmer>But we have detected in our tracking a trend, and indeed talking with CEOs, a trend <v John Palmer>by some toward Clinton, the majority still with Bush. <v John Palmer>And I think there's several reasons for this. One is that uh they're a little bit <v John Palmer>disillusioned with Bush, and there's a feeling that maybe Clinton is a little more <v John Palmer>pro-business than usual Democratic candidates, and generally the changes in the global <v John Palmer>economy. And these changes have forced a lot of businessmen to look a little bit <v John Palmer>differently at the traditional laissez faire attitude of the Republican Party <v John Palmer>toward business. <v John Palmer>Now, tomorrow night, the key members of America's business elite will talk about <v John Palmer>just those issues we've been talking about and what they have to say as- well I think <v John Palmer>you'll be a bit surprised. Cassie. All right. <v Cassie>Great, thanks, John. We'll look forward to part 2 tomorrow night. <v Cassie>Bill Clinton has been telling everyone that he's a different kind of Democrat. <v Cassie>No more tax and spend, now it's invest and grow. <v Cassie>In the second segment of our Money Chase series, John Palmer looks at the Clinton message
<v Cassie>and how it's playing with businesses. John. <v John Palmer>Cassie. While Bill Clinton has been courting big business in much the same <v John Palmer>way that uh the Democrats usually are courting big labor, it <v John Palmer>may be more than coincidental that the Republicans are admittedly having trouble raising <v John Palmer>money this year. To hear the Arkansas governor tell it, he's a new kind of Democrat <v John Palmer>with a new message for corporate America. <v John Palmer>[applause] In Chicago last month, Clinton announced that 400 business leaders, including <v John Palmer>many Republicans, had thrown their support to him. <v Bill Clinton>I am profoundly moved by the response that these people have given to our campaign, <v Bill Clinton>just as I was a few days ago in Silicon Valley when the high tech executives <v Bill Clinton>there, most of whom were Republicans, endorsed this candidacy. <v John Palmer>To find out how that message is playing at the very pinnacle of corporate America, <v John Palmer>we traveled to Hot Springs, Virginia, where 100 members of the business elite <v John Palmer>gathered earlier this month for the biannual meeting of the Business Council.
<v John Palmer>It's still very much of a George Bush crowd, but even the president's backers <v John Palmer>acknowledged an erosion of support over a variety of issues, especially <v John Palmer>trade. One corporate leader was pointedly neutral. <v Harold Poling>I'm going to look forward eagerly to the debates and the discussion of these issues, <v Harold Poling>and I'm trying to find out uh specifically where the uh Clinton <v Harold Poling>party stands on these uh matters. <v Walter Williams>I think in this case, um it is a <v Walter Williams>disillusionment with what's happened in the past four years at- with <v Walter Williams>respect to our economy, that is, in a sense, pushing some businessmen <v Walter Williams>to Clinton to try something new, if that's possible, or to give somebody else a chance. <v John Palmer>One executive said there is a great deal of silent support for Bill Clinton. <v John Palmer>Another CEO was not afraid to speak to the issue. <v John Palmer>Have any of the other business leaders come to you and said, <v John Palmer>John, what are you doing here? What- what did you do this for?
<v John Young>Well, I've gotten a lot of uh good-natured ribbing, but I think <v John Young>genuinely there's an awful lot of concern about the fact that we <v John Young>are kind of drifting and not making the progress and not seeing the leadership they'd <v John Young>like to see. And I think there's also a lot of understanding on why <v John Young>people are- are as concerned as they are. <v John Palmer>Several business executives attributed Clinton's appeal to a change in the Democratic <v John Palmer>Party, but more significantly, to a fundamental change in the way American <v John Palmer>business has to compete globally. <v Howard Allen>It's contrary to my basic instincts as a Republican and the <v Howard Allen>way my father reared me. <v Howard Allen>But there are certain things that government should have oversight <v Howard Allen>on, and not just sit back and <v Howard Allen>say that competition will solve everything. <v Howard Allen>It hurts me to say that and my father would turn it over in his grave if he heard me say <v Howard Allen>it [laughs]. <v Norman Augustine>I think the Democrats are moving more toward business and business is moving more toward
<v Norman Augustine>the Democratic line of thinking. <v Norman Augustine>I say that in the sense that uh the Democratic Party, I think is figuring <v Norman Augustine>out that you can't be against uh employers and for jobs. <v Norman Augustine>It's kind of a non-sequitur. <v John Palmer>In the 1991-92 election season, Republicans are still outpacing <v John Palmer>the Democrats by more than 2 to 1 in soft money. <v John Palmer>Those are the unlimited dollars that are ostensibly raised for state and local <v John Palmer>party-building activities. <v John Palmer>But in August, for the first time in the 20 month reporting period, the <v John Palmer>Democrats raised more soft money than the Republicans. <v John Palmer>And in overall contributions, the Democrats have taken in 44.3 <v John Palmer>million dollars since July compared to the Republicans who raised 26 <v John Palmer>million. With all the Democratic attention focused on business, where <v John Palmer>does that leave the party's traditional base: labor unions, liberals <v John Palmer>and minorities. <v Tony Coelho>If Mr. Clinton wins, then by the end of his term- 4 years,
<v Tony Coelho>you're going to see a lot of the liberals in the Democratic Party upset with him. <v John Palmer>Does that mean that the Democratic Party has abandoned its base because it needs <v John Palmer>to appeal to moneyed interests to expand its power, maintain its hold on <v John Palmer>Congress and capture the White House? <v Thomas Ferguson>Look, y- you have to get this straight, political parties in the United States now are <v Thomas Ferguson>names on bank accounts. Okay? They're not devices for organizing anybody at <v Thomas Ferguson>the mass level. In fact, you know, a huge number, half the population doesn't vote, and <v Thomas Ferguson>the other half is quite jaded. <v Thomas Ferguson>I mean, they're watching the debates in many cases because there's nothing else on TV. <v Thomas Ferguson>So, yeah, they're- of course the Democrats change their policies to get money. <v Cassie>The Democrats are pouring all of their money- or excuse me, the business is pouring all <v Cassie>of its money to the Democratic Party? <v John Palmer>Well, there has been an increase, Cassie. <v John Palmer>We've certainly tracked that in our numbers, but we really won't know how much until all <v John Palmer>the numbers are in and that'll be sometime after November 3rd. <v Cassie>What's next on the money chase? <v John Palmer>Well, on our next report, we're going to look at one industry, an important industry,
<v John Palmer>health care, and how it is investing in the election. <v John Palmer>And it's an example of how various interest groups try to protect themselves in the <v John Palmer>Congress. <v Cassie>Thank you very much. We're looking forward to it. <v Cassie>Tonight's segment of the Money Chase looks at the powerful interest mobilized around <v Cassie>health care reform. Health care is a 730 billion dollar industry. <v Cassie>John Palmer is here with a look at how health care companies try to protect their <v Cassie>interests by investing in politics. <v Cassie>John. <v John Palmer>Cassie, about half the money spent on successful congressional campaigns <v John Palmer>comes from political action committees or from PACs. <v John Palmer>There are about 5000 PACs in this country, typically organized around <v John Palmer>business and labor union interests and PAC spending is very pragmatic. <v John Palmer>If you want a preview of upcoming congressional fireworks, just follow the PACs. <v John Palmer>Watch which congressmen are getting the most lavish attention and there's no better <v John Palmer>example of that than the Democratic-dominated house, and one of this year's hot <v John Palmer>button issues, health care.
<v John Palmer>There are about 35 million Americans without health insurance. <v John Palmer>Health care costs are rising at twice the rate of the gross national product. <v John Palmer>And spiraling employee insurance premiums are eroding corporate profits and <v John Palmer>competitiveness. <v Harold Poling>Our health care costs, they're our largest supplier. <v Harold Poling>Last year, a 1,183,000,000 dollars, 529 dollars a <v Harold Poling>car. We cannot be competitive with that type of cost. <v John Palmer>But while our nation's health care delivery system may be in critical condition, <v John Palmer>1992 campaign spending by hospitals, doctors and drug and insurance <v John Palmer>companies has been more than robust. So far this year, health care industry <v John Palmer>contributions to congressional campaigns have reached 22.4 <v John Palmer>million dollars, compared to 18.6 million just two years ago. <v John Palmer>Most of that money is from PACs. <v Richard Kirsch>Contributions from the PACs that represent the insurance companies, the medical <v Richard Kirsch>establishment, increased 20 percent. <v Richard Kirsch>That's twice as fast as PAC contributions increase generally. <v John Palmer>PAC contributions are limited to $5000 per candidate
<v John Palmer>per election, and defenders of the PAC system will tell you that's too <v John Palmer>paltry a sum to influence votes. <v Ellen Miller>PACs in individuals give in PACs. <v Ellen Miller>It's not an isolated contribution. <v Ellen Miller>Generally, their interest is very much the same, and that's what turns the ear <v Ellen Miller>of the uh- of the member towards their interest. <v Edmund Pratt>If you have a committee chairman or keep people on a committee that are- that are very <v Edmund Pratt>valuable to have uh good relations with, why, it's not surprising that uh- <v Edmund Pratt>that you would tend to support some of these people. <v Edmund Pratt>I don't- I don't apologize for that. <v John Palmer>Citizen Action, a Washington watchdog group, added up the latest figures from the <v John Palmer>Federal Election Commission, including Health PAC and individual donations from <v John Palmer>doctors, dentists, hospital administrators and other health care professionals. <v John Palmer>Here are the top five House recipients: Richard Gephardt, majority <v John Palmer>leader and member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Henry Waxman, chairman <v John Palmer>of Energy and Commerce's Health Subcommittee, Dan Rostenkowski, Ways
<v John Palmer>and Means chairman, and Pete Stark, chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on <v John Palmer>Health, and John Dingell, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. <v John Palmer>Driven by health industry concern over reform proposals, Rostenkowski's <v John Palmer>donations are up almost 1200 percent from two years ago. <v John Palmer>Gephardt's are up 284 percent. <v John Palmer>Health industries have also been generous with Republicans on Ways and Means. <v John Palmer>Former major league pitcher Jim Bunning's contributions are up 309 percent <v John Palmer>and ex Love Boat star Fred Grandy's jumped 305 percent. <v John Palmer>No congressman would concede that campaign money in any way compromises <v John Palmer>his or her position on the issues. <v John Palmer>The five Democrats, in fact, have sponsored various health care reform plans. <v John Palmer>Critics say the industry is, at the very least, trying to contain the damage. <v John Palmer>What do the companies say? <v Edmund Pratt>If you want to be heard, you have to have access, you- you- and it's a little hard to go
<v Edmund Pratt>steaming down on an important issue to somebody you've never seen before and never heard <v Edmund Pratt>of you and try to be heard. <v Edmund Pratt>So all you expect to get from contributions is- is a sense of relationship <v Edmund Pratt>so that a person is in- in the political scene, is willing to listen to your views. <v John Palmer>What do they mean when they say access? <v Ellen Miller>Well, access is a sugar-coated way of saying buying influence. <v Ellen Miller>Um, whether saying buying influence is another sugar-coating uh to saying buying <v Ellen Miller>votes um you know is not altogether clear. <v Cassie>John, we've seen how special interests try to influence Congress. <v Cassie>But now that the general election is financed by taxpayer dollars, is there any way for <v Cassie>special interests to gain access to the Oval Office? <v John Palmer>Well, Cassie, certainly no president would ever admit to it, no presidential candidate <v John Palmer>and certainly no contributor. But most people feel that by using <v John Palmer>uh soft money, unlimited soft money contributions, they can get more than just a little <v John Palmer>bit of leverage at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. <v John Palmer>And tomorrow, we're going to be taking a look at this legal loophole called soft money
<v John Palmer>and how it has become big enough to actually drive, I guess, a- a presidential campaign <v John Palmer>through it. <v Cassie>Tonight, our Money Chase special report takes a hard look at soft money. <v Cassie>John Palmer is here with a look at how big dollars find their way into the presidential <v Cassie>race through a legal loophole in campaign finance laws. <v Cassie>John. <v John Palmer>Cassie, campaign financing abuses that were unearthed during the Watergate Scandal, <v John Palmer>have brought about some sweeping reforms. <v John Palmer>They brought about reforms in 1974. <v John Palmer>Contributions to candidates at the federal level are now strictly limited by law, but <v John Palmer>you can make unlimited donations to political parties. <v John Palmer>That money is supposed to be used to help state and local efforts, but very often it ends <v John Palmer>up one way or another helping candidates for Congress or president. <v John Palmer>That is soft money. <v Ellen Miller>It's money essentially not regulated by the federal campaign finance law. <v Ellen Miller>It was money designed to assist uh candidates <v Ellen Miller>in activities at the grassroots level, but was very quickly taken over by the national
<v Ellen Miller>parties as a way to garner 100,000 dollar plus contributions <v Ellen Miller>to support candidates. <v Frank Reiche>You can say, well, what's the vice in that? Well the vice there is that they thereby <v Frank Reiche>gain access to the members of Congress, indeed, <v Frank Reiche>possibly to the White House, uh by making substantial contributions. <v Frank Reiche>Or if they don't gain access, at least the perception is that they do, and in <v Frank Reiche>campaign finance, perception is sufficient to taint the process. <v John Palmer>So far this election cycle, the Democrats and Republicans have raised <v John Palmer>a total of 62 million dollars in soft money just through August. <v John Palmer>The list of donors includes some of the nation's largest companies, most powerful <v John Palmer>unions and wealthiest individuals. <v John Palmer>Soft money is soft because national and local distinctions get blurry <v John Palmer>around election time. Get out the vote drives help the whole ticket. <v John Palmer>So do the kind of ads that encourage support for a party rather than a specific
<v John Palmer>candidate. It's all legal under the Federal Election Act, but it is <v John Palmer>not legal to use soft money raised for state and local campaigns on <v John Palmer>federal races. <v John Palmer>That's allegedly what happened two years ago in a Kentucky race for the U.S. <v John Palmer>Senate. The matter is still pending before the FEC. <v John Palmer>On October 11th, 1990, according to official documents. <v John Palmer>The Democratic National Committee in Washington received more than 200,000 dollars <v John Palmer>in soft money from Mary Bingham, matriarch of a powerful Louisville <v John Palmer>family. She was an ardent backer of Kentucky Democrat Harvey Sloane's <v John Palmer>uphill battle to unseat Republican U.S. <v John Palmer>Senator Mitch McConnell. <v John Palmer>On October 12th, the DNC began transferring a total of <v John Palmer>215,000 dollars to the cash-starved Kentucky Democratic Party. <v John Palmer>The party spent that money on a statewide TV campaign produced by <v John Palmer>Sloane's Washington media adviser. <v Commercial narrator>That's the difference between wealthy Washington Republicans and Kentucky's Democrats.
<v Commercial narrator>Our hard working families know that Democrats always fight for good paying jobs, Social <v Commercial narrator>Security, health care and quality education. <v John Palmer>The GOP claims the ad clearly focuses on federal matters and was <v John Palmer>aimed at McConnell, who ended up winning by 4 percentage points. <v John Palmer>The Republicans filed a complaint accusing the Democrats of using nonfederal <v John Palmer>funds in a U.S. Senate race. <v John Palmer>The Democratic Party and a lawyer for Mrs. Bingham declined comment since the matter <v John Palmer>is still under investigation. <v John Palmer>The largest amount of soft money is generally raised during presidential races. <v John Palmer>The $5000-a-plate-and-up dinners with Bill Clinton and this fundraiser <v John Palmer>for the Bush campaign are all expressions of solid support with soft <v John Palmer>money. Critics call it an invitation to Watergate style abuses. <v Benjamin Ginsberg>Well, I disagree with that. I think that when a contribution is given to- to the <v Benjamin Ginsberg>Republican National Committee, there is no quid pro quo. <v John Palmer>But the critics point to this year's biggest single, soft money contributor- Archer
<v John Palmer>Daniels Midland, the Illinois based billion dollar agricultural conglomerate. <v John Palmer>This election season, ADM has given more than one million dollars to the Republican <v John Palmer>Party's soft money account. <v John Palmer>It also is kicked in almost 140,000 dollars to the Democrats. <v John Palmer>ADM is the nation's largest producer of corn-based ethanol fuel, <v John Palmer>an alternative to gasoline. <v John Palmer>Its effects on air quality are a matter of debate. <v John Palmer>Earlier this month, President Bush reversed Environmental Protection Agency policy <v John Palmer>and announced plans to include ethanol as an alternate fuel. <v John Palmer>The president's reversal would benefit not only ADM, but also corn farmers <v John Palmer>in the Midwest, where Mr. Bush lags in the polls. <v John Palmer>The decision has angered environmentalists and state and local air quality regulators. <v S. William Becker>There are a number of reasons that have been suggested, ranging from the fact that he's <v S. William Becker>kowtowing to some of the Midwestern states to get the ethanol vote, to the fact
<v S. William Becker>that ADM um on record has contributed a significant amount of money <v S. William Becker>to the Republican National Committee. <v Cassie>John, what does ADM say about all this? <v John Palmer>Well, Cassie, the company has declined all comment. <v John Palmer>But we must say that uh ADM, what they're doing in these contributions, is perfectly <v John Palmer>legal. In fact, the oil companies who say what the president did was illegal, well, they, <v John Palmer>of course, have given soft money too to both the Republicans and to the Democrats. <v John Palmer>And tomorrow night, we're going to look at a couple of people who have no trouble raising <v John Palmer>money, soft or otherwise: Ross Perot, who's trying to shake up the system, <v John Palmer>and a congressman who plays the system like a virtuoso. <v Cassie>All right. We'll look forward to it. See you then. <v Cassie>Anti-incumbent fever may be running high this election year, but John Palmer continues <v Cassie>our Money Chase special report tonight with a look at an incumbent who is coasting home <v Cassie>on a mountain of campaign cash. <v Cassie>John. <v John Palmer>Well Cassie, back in 1962, when Jimmy Quillen was first elected to the <v John Palmer>U.S. House of Representatives, John F. <v John Palmer>Kennedy was in the Oval Office, and astronaut John Glenn was the national
<v John Palmer>hero, and a 21-year-old named Bob Dylan was singing a song called Blowin <v John Palmer>in the Wind. Kennedy, of course, is gone, Dylan is now one of rock's senior citizens, and <v John Palmer>Senator Glenn is fighting for his political life in Ohio, not so with <v John Palmer>Representative Quillin, a sure bet to win his 16th straight term <v John Palmer>in the House. <v John Palmer>James Henry Quillen or Jimmy, as he's known both in Washington and back home <v John Palmer>in east Tennessee, is a low-key candidate. <v John Palmer>No splashy television ads or expensive direct mail campaigns, <v John Palmer>no high-priced consultants or pollsters, mostly just lots of hugs <v John Palmer>and handshakes. Jimmy Quillen is a Republican and the last time Tennessee's <v John Palmer>1st District sent a Democrat to the House was back in 1876. <v John Palmer>But Quillin has another reason to be confident. <v John Palmer>He began the year with more than one million dollars in campaign funds, <v John Palmer>unspent donations amassed over the years during one easy race <v John Palmer>after another. This year, he faces two unknowns who say they have
<v John Palmer>a total of 700 dollars to spend on the campaign. <v John Palmer>Other challengers may have been frightened away by Quinlan's campaign kitty. <v James Quillen>I consider any opposition very formidable. <v James Quillen>I think when you sit down and take things for granted, sometimes the rug is pulled <v James Quillen>out from under you. <v John Palmer>At 76, Quillin spends most every weekend back home during election <v John Palmer>time, pressing the flesh, renewing ties and going through the traditional <v John Palmer>campaign rituals. But his friends and supporters extend far beyond <v John Palmer>his native Appalachia. <v John Palmer>Most of the money given to his reelection committee comes from corporate America, <v John Palmer>from political action committees associated with some of the nation's business giants. <v John Palmer>The 15-term congressman says it's a kind of philosophical link. <v James Quillen>No industry is inseperable to the first district of Tennessee, at <v James Quillen>least I'd like to think so. <v James Quillen>And when you look at it that way, there's a reason for them doing
<v James Quillen>it. And I don't ask any questions. <v James Quillen>The committee asked no questions. <v James Quillen>And I always welcome it. <v John Palmer>And the PACs have been more than willing to give it. <v John Palmer>That's because Quillen is the longest serving Republican on the powerful House Rules <v John Palmer>Committee. No bill makes it to the House floor without getting through the Rules <v John Palmer>Committee first. Quillen isn't just sitting on that big war chest. <v John Palmer>In 1990, according to federal election records, he spent a quarter of a million <v John Palmer>dollars to win all of the 47,796 <v John Palmer>votes cast, but only 4 percent of the money spent went for <v John Palmer>actual campaigning. <v John Palmer>Where did the rest go? <v John Palmer>Quillen reported spending two thirds, or more than 172,000 <v John Palmer>dollars, on overhead, including more than 80,000 dollars for a full-time <v John Palmer>campaign employee, 42,000 in taxes, and more than <v John Palmer>7,600 dollars to keep the campaign's automobile running smoothly.
<v John Palmer>He also listed 8,500 dollars in gifts to constituents, including <v John Palmer>Super Bowl tickets, wristwatches, flowers, clock radios and congressional <v John Palmer>souvenirs. And he spent $750 on jackets, the same <v John Palmer>kind he's wearing here, which he gave out to campaign workers. <v John Palmer>Why do politicians like Jimmy Quillen collect and spend such large amounts <v John Palmer>of money? <v Sara Fritz>The money is there. The money is available. <v Sara Fritz>Uh special interests have become well-organized. <v Sara Fritz>They're offering money to members of Congress and other candidates. <v Sara Fritz>And uh so members who don't even need the money will raise <v Sara Fritz>a million dollars just to have it uh in their campaign funds <v Sara Fritz>just in case. Also, they use this money to build themselves <v Sara Fritz>their own political empire. <v John Palmer>There is at least one other way to finance a run for office. <v Ross Perot>I'm spending my money on this campaign. <v Ross Perot>The two parties are spending your money, taxpayer money.
<v Ross Perot>I- I put my wallet on the table for you and your children. <v Ross Perot>Over 60 million dollars at least will go into this campaign to leave the American <v Ross Perot>dream to you and your children to get this country straightened out, because if anybody <v Ross Perot>owes it to you, I do. <v John Palmer>Having a few billion dollars in your pocket lets you participate in politics and <v John Palmer>sit out the money chase. <v John Palmer>The only problem is that it narrows the field of possible candidates. <v Cassie>John, what about efforts to reform the campaign finance system, then, is representative <v Cassie>Quillen an exception? <v John Palmer>No, Cassie, he's not really an exception. He's actually the rule. <v John Palmer>In 1990, there were 371 people running for a seat <v John Palmer>in the House of Representatives, either unopposed or they had competition or <v John Palmer>challengers who had very limited financial resources. <v John Palmer>And on the question of reform, well everybody wants reform. <v John Palmer>We've talked to the politicians, to businessmen and so forth. <v John Palmer>Everyone wants reform. It's just a question of what type of reform. <v John Palmer>And we're going to be talking on Monday night with some people trying to rein in <v John Palmer>the money chase.
<v Cassie>John, thank you. We'll see you next Monday. <v John Palmer>Thank you. <v Cassie>On tonight's final segment of the money chase, John Palmer looks at how we might improve <v Cassie>the way we finance our elections. <v Cassie>John is in Washington and he begins with the latest campaign contribution totals. <v Cassie>John. <v John Palmer>Cassie, the latest numbers were compiled by the nonpartisan Center for <v John Palmer>Responsive Politics and are based on data from the Federal Election Commission <v John Palmer>from January the 1st, 1991 to June 30th, 1992. <v John Palmer>Final numbers will be released sometime next spring. <v John Palmer>But here is what we have so far. <v John Palmer>The totals confirm that business represented by individual, corporate <v John Palmer>and political action committee donations is far and away the single <v John Palmer>largest source of political money in the country. <v John Palmer>Labor, which gives almost exclusively through PACs, was outspent by business <v John Palmer>by more than 5 to 1. <v John Palmer>The GOP got 20 million dollars more from business than the Democrats,
<v John Palmer>but the Democrats got 93 percent of labor's 29 million dollar contribution <v John Palmer>to capture the overall lead in the money chase. <v John Palmer>Within the business category, lawyers and lobbyists who habitually haunt the corridors <v John Palmer>of power gave the most money. <v John Palmer>Second on the list was the securities and investment industry, with most <v John Palmer>of its investment in loosely-restricted soft money. <v John Palmer>The list of the most generous contributors was rounded out by industries <v John Palmer>with a very keen interest in the legislative agenda of the next administration <v John Palmer>and Congress. <v Thomas Ferguson>Numbers like this inevitably call to mind the Golden Rule: he or she that has the gold <v Thomas Ferguson>rules. And what that really means is that a American election- in American <v Thomas Ferguson>election processes, the candidates chase not blocs of voters, but <v Thomas Ferguson>blocs of investors. And the perfect limit case to make the point is Ross Perot. <v Thomas Ferguson>He is the only presidential candidate talking about serious reform of the process, and <v Thomas Ferguson>he's the only presidential candidate who doesn't need anybody else's money to mount the
<v Thomas Ferguson>campaign. <v John Palmer>As Tom Ferguson just noted, the race for dollars is just as important <v John Palmer>as the race for votes, perhaps in some cases even more important. <v John Palmer>I've been joined by two people very familiar with the race for dollars and the complex <v John Palmer>world of campaign financing: Ellen Miller, executive director of the Center for <v John Palmer>Responsive Politics and Steven Stockmeyer, executive vice president <v John Palmer>of the National Association of Business PACs. <v John Palmer>Welcome. Ellen, we knew business was a big player here, but according to your latest <v John Palmer>numbers, business was even a bigger player than we thought. <v Ellen Miller>Well, as we've been able to open the window on who funds campaigns beyond just <v Ellen Miller>the congressional side of things, we see an even larger picture for business. <v Ellen Miller>Uh PACs are not really major players at the uh- at the presidential level. <v Ellen Miller>They're not major players when you give to the parties, and they're certainly not players <v Ellen Miller>in the soft money arena. So now that we can identify individual contributors, we see <v Ellen Miller>that individuals, and particularly bundled corporate contributions through individuals,
<v Ellen Miller>really uh opens our window on what we know about who's funding American campaigns. <v John Palmer>Let's talk a bit now about campaign reform. <v John Palmer>During this series, we have seen what appeared to be some abuses. <v John Palmer>What about PACs, Stephen? Do you see any reform needed there in political action <v John Palmer>committees in the way they're used in politics? <v Steven Stockmeyer>Well, I think it's- it's important first to understand what they are and that uh <v Steven Stockmeyer>political action committees are groups of ordinary Americans that band together to try to <v Steven Stockmeyer>magnify their political voices. <v Steven Stockmeyer>They're fully disclosed. They're very strictly limited as to what they can spend on <v Steven Stockmeyer>campaigns. We think PACs are a model for reform. <v Steven Stockmeyer>If we took all that kinds of contributions outside of PACs it- um <v Steven Stockmeyer>Ellen was talking about and put them in the PAC model, we'd have a system much better <v Steven Stockmeyer>under control. <v Ellen Miller>What about that, Ellen? Is that- are PACs a model for reform? <v Ellen Miller>Well, I'd hardly hate to think so. What- what's good about PACs is that we are able to <v Ellen Miller>trace where their money comes from and the precise interest that they have when it comes <v Ellen Miller>to lobbying Capitol Hill or the executive branch. <v Ellen Miller>But in fact, PACs are only one small part of the problem.
<v Ellen Miller>I mean, our recent release saw that PAC-giving is to Congress only- there it's <v Ellen Miller>only about half the money that goes to Congress. <v Ellen Miller>And we really have to widen our understanding of what- uh of what we have <v Ellen Miller>in terms of money in politics. I mean, we have a system of privately-funded elections, uh <v Ellen Miller>elections which are supposed to be fair and equal, public elections funded by a whole <v Ellen Miller>host of private interests. <v John Palmer>What about this question, uh the ultimate question, I guess, about campaign reform and <v John Palmer>political spending reform, and that is that all elections run by county courthouse all <v John Palmer>the way to the White House should be only public money should be used and not private <v John Palmer>money. What about that, Steven? <v Steven Stockmeyer>Well, first of all, I don't think the taxpayers would stand for that. <v Steven Stockmeyer>And we do have that system sort of in the presidential race, in the general election, and <v Steven Stockmeyer>we can see from Ellen's figures that it just doesn't work when you have all public money, <v Steven Stockmeyer>because America is a society of interests. <v Steven Stockmeyer>Interests have a right and a responsibility, and always will try to participate in <v Steven Stockmeyer>campaigns no matter what rules and regulations you have. <v Steven Stockmeyer>That's why we always say let's- let's put it all on the table.
<v Steven Stockmeyer>Let's reasonably limit it and make sure the voters know where the support's coming from. <v Steven Stockmeyer>I don't think the taxpayers would stand, though, for uh campaigns to be funded by the <v Steven Stockmeyer>public. <v John Palmer>And quickly Ellen, do you would- you think this is a good idea? <v Ellen Miller>Money should not be the determinant of access or influence or success in the political <v Ellen Miller>system. <v John Palmer>Thank you both for being with us. <v John Palmer>And um that completes our series that we have been calling the Money Chase about campaign <v John Palmer>financing. Let's go back to New York and Cassie. <v Cassie>John, what surprised you the most in working on this series? <v John Palmer>Well, Cassie, several things. One is the amount of money that is spent in these <v John Palmer>campaigns, 2.7 billion we reported in our first report uh back in 1988, <v John Palmer>uh the fact that business plays such a major role, and the fact <v John Palmer>that sometimes it's the politicians that go to the political action committee soliciting <v John Palmer>funds rather than the other way around. <v Cassie>And of course, so many people have been surprised to learn about soft money. <v John Palmer>Yes, soft money is- is really the key here, certainly reform. <v John Palmer>Uh most of the ideas about reform are aimed there. <v John Palmer>That, of course, is where money is given for party building to state and local
The Nightly Business Report
The Money Chase Excerpts
Producing Organization
WPBT-TV (Television station : Miami, Fla.)
NBR Enterprises
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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"While most of the media focused on 1992's race for votes, The Nightly Business Report looked at the equally important race for money. This six part series on campaign finance issues also took on the ultimate question: what kind of influence do corporations get in return for their campaign contribution? "Parts one and two traced where business contributions went in 1992. Part three examined campaign giving by business in the politically-sensitive health care areas. Part four took a hard look at 'soft money' -- a loophole in campaign finance laws allowing unlimited contributions to local political parties. Part five used a 'case in point' to show how business donations tend to flow to incumbents. The series concluded with a discussion of what needs to be done to improve the system and minimize the influence of big contributors. "Major findings included the revelation that business money no longer flows almost exclusively to the Republican camp. The lack of regulations concerning 'soft money' was also exposed as a serious flaw that threatens the effectiveness of other campaign financing laws. "Columnist Marvin Kitman called the series the 'most interesting of the explorations' of campaign financing presented on public [TV] this year. It also had immediate results -- as more than 5000 viewers responded to an 800-number given to request campaign finance information on candidates in their own districts."-- 1992 Peabody Awards entry form
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Producing Organization: WPBT-TV (Television station : Miami, Fla.)
Producing Organization: NBR Enterprises
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Duration: 0:35:00
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Chicago: “The Nightly Business Report; The Money Chase Excerpts,” 1992-10, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “The Nightly Business Report; The Money Chase Excerpts.” 1992-10. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: The Nightly Business Report; The Money Chase Excerpts. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from