Legislators, lobbyists tee off at charity event

The Political Game

Tournament: Some grumble that the house speaker's annual golf game, with its $150 fee, is practically required if one wants to be a player in the political arena.

June 15, 1999|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

THE COZY relationship between lobbyists and legislators was on full display last week at Rocky Gap golf course near Cumberland at the annual charity golf tournament led by House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr.

The tournament, which was begun by Taylor's predecessor as speaker, R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., raises money for a variety of charities. It attracts a who's who crowd of State House lobbyists, some of their corporate clients and legislators.

Lobbyists, while generally not opposed to a springtime round of golf, quietly grumble that the event, which costs $150, has become a command performance for anyone who wants to have influence in Annapolis.

"If you're going to play, you gotta pay. That's just the way it is," said one longtime lobbyist who made the trek to Cumberland with some of his clients.

The new ethics law passed by the General Assembly this year will largely prohibit legislators from hitting up State House lobbyists for contributions to their pet charities -- a practice that has escalated in recent years.

But, even with the ethics reforms, events such as the speaker's tournament will be allowed as long as Taylor is not making the solicitation.

Taylor said he refrains from making direct pitches for the tournament. Instead, he turns over the solicitation duties to a handful of lobbyists, who are more than happy to help.

Unlike contributions to a politician's fund-raising account, lobbyists' payments to events such as the speaker's tournament do not have to be reported.

Gender gap is evident in fund raising, study says

We've seen clear evidence of a gender gap on Election Day in recent years. Democrats such as President Clinton and Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, to note two examples, benefited from strong majority support from women.

But does a similar gender gap exist when it comes to fund raising? The answer is yes, according to two new analyses of campaign giving patterns.

Women are much more likely than men to give to female candidates and Democrats, and women are more likely to send a check to a challenger taking on an incumbent, the studies showed. Women are playing a bigger role in financing skyrocketing campaign costs.

The analyses -- one of the 1998 congressional elections by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington and one of the 1996 races by a group of four political scientists -- showed that about one-quarter of large contributions came from women.

Twenty years earlier, women accounted for 17 percent of such contributions. "Large" contributions were defined as $200 or more.

Female Democratic candidates received 43 percent of their large contributions from women, while male Democratic candidates picked up 26 percent of those big checks from women, the center's study found.

The second study found that women were more likely to give to political campaigns in association with groups such as EMILY's List, which raises money for female candidates.

"Women, who have been a group that has traditionally been underrepresented, have clearly begun to organize and participate more fully in the political process," said Paul S. Herrnson, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, a principal investigator on the study.

The political scientists surveyed more than 1,100 donors who gave at least $200 during the 1996 congressional elections.

A key finding: Women were far more likely to make contributions because of social policy concerns, while men tended to give because of concerns about their businesses or the economy.

Orioles' owner chairs $1.3 million PAC event

One of the nation's most prolific male fund-raisers -- Baltimore attorney Peter G. Angelos -- continues to be a major player.

The Orioles' principal owner was one of several co-chairs of an event last week that raised an eye-popping $1.3 million for a new political action committee set up by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat.

Tickets to the Washington dinner, which was attended by a small army of Capitol Hill lobbyists and featured a performance by country singer Lyle Lovett, cost $5,000 apiece.

Daschle will use the money to help elect Democrats to the Senate and House of Representatives.

Angelos gave at least $410,000 to congressional races during the 1998 election cycle, according to federal records.

Pub Date: 6/14/99

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