Bush worker finds he has become campaign issue

THE POLITICAL GAME

October 28, 1992|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,Staff Writer

Bo Denysyk just wanted to help George Bush win a second term. He just wanted to be staff director of the Bush-Quayle team in Maryland.

But suddenly he's more than that. He's an issue.

This 45-year-old son of union members, who has been active in Republican politics since 1964, finds himself identified as a Washington-based agent-lobbyist, one of those who make themselves valuable to foreign companies by taking leaves of absence to work for U.S. presidential candidates.

Ross Perot points to these agents and the campaigns they assist as an example of what's wrong with business inside the beltway.

Mr. Denysyk's work as a representative for foreign companies was disclosed by the Clinton campaign in Maryland. Clinton supporters criticize him for representing a Japanese machine tool maker, Mazak Corp., even after allegations that Mazak attached "Made in the USA" labels to products made in Japan.

bTC "How could he work for a company that has contributed to the loss of jobs among machine tool makers in America?" the Clinton team asks, clearly working to nail down every union vote.

Mr. Denysyk says he took a leave of absence during the campaign. He says he didn't work for the company until 1989, after the alleged mislabeling occurred, though Clinton's operation says U.S. Justice Department records show he started in 1986.

He had nothing to do with the mislabeling. One of his tasks was to help the company find its way through the maze of regulations. As a former Commerce Department official in the Reagan administration, he knows labeling.

To meet the letter of the law, he says, company lawyers may have registered him as someone who might seek to influence laws or policy, a lobbyist, in other words. But he says he never lobbied for Mazak.

Worst of all, for this son of a worker and union member at Domino Sugar in New York, Mr. Denysyk feels he is on the right side of the machine tool issue. He has tried to defend American workers, testifying before Congress in support of restraints on imported or foreign-made machine tools.

Of course, says Pat Choate, who wrote "Agents of Influence," which apparently is a source for Mr. Perot's charges. Representatives of foreign companies may well be speaking in favor of import restraints -- now that they have their own factories in this country.

"The Japanese got into the U.S. market, and now they want to act as if they are American corporations, trying to keep out foreign goods. They have stolen our market and now they want protection. It reminds me of the guy who murders his parents and asks for mercy because he's an orphan."

But Mr. Choate says the Clinton campaign has its own agents of influence working as staff members and advisers: he mentioned Stuart Eisenstat, formerly a domestic adviser for President Jimmy Carter, and Samuel Berger. Mr. Eisenstat represents Hitachi, and Mr. Berger Mercedez Benz, Mr. Choate says.

Jon Spalter, the Clinton spokesman in Maryland, said the campaign was not objecting to foreign agents or lobbyists per se -- just those who are working for companies accused of breaking the law.

Mr. Denysyk's emergence as an issue continues in a Clinton radio commercial.

The wording suggests that Mr. Denysyk's association with Mazak was disclosed by The Sun. Actually, the information came from the Clinton campaign in Maryland and various unions, which held a news conference to issue their criticisms.

Mr. Spalter says the ad copy was written at the Clinton head quarters in Little Rock. There was no effort to give the charge credibility, to raise it beyond mere political sniping, by suggesting it came from an independent source, he said.

Recognizing a diversity of black opinion on the abortion issue, Alan L. Keyes thinks many black Marylanders oppose abortion. Thus, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate makes opposition to abortion a major point of distinction between himself and his opponent, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, an abortion-rights advocate.

Unlike many candidates who deal with abortion only when forced, Mr. Keyes makes his opposition a mission. But his approach is not completely without political content. He takes his anti-abortion message into black churches, where he speaks of a close connection between abortion and street violence, from drug trafficking to "killing one another for the things of the world."

"How can we say to our young that they should not kill each other when we allow mothers to kill their offspring?" he asks.

He begins at the beginning. Opponents in the abortion wars have attempted to locate when life begins. From there, they search for some agreement on when, if ever, abortion should be permitted.

These debates are in vain and far too much of this world, Mr. Keyes says. Life begins, he declared last Sunday at the New Solid Rock Church in Baltimore, "not in the joining of cells, but as an idea in the mind of God. . . . We are formed by the spirit," he said. "When we attack life in the womb -- so the world itself dies," he said.

Polls of black Americans have shown consistent support for abortion rights, but Mr. Keyes says there is a significant block among blacks that agrees with him.

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