Money Flows in Race for Appropriations Gavel

Posted October 25, 2004 at 6:07pm

The race to become the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee has entered the homestretch, as all three veteran candidates for the post have been busily handing out campaign cash and soliciting their colleagues’ support.

While Reps. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) have doled out several hundred thousand dollars apiece to GOP candidates and party committees this cycle, recently filed Federal Election Commission reports show that each candidate has targeted his late spending differently.

Rogers, for example, has used his Help America’s Leaders PAC to directly court the lawmakers who will help pick the next Appropriations chairman.

From Oct. 1 to Oct. 13, the Kentuckian made contributions to 10 members of the GOP Steering Committee: Reps. Adam Putnam (Fla.), John McHugh (N.Y.), Dave Camp (Mich.), Don Young (Alaska), Joe Barton (Texas), John Carter (Texas), John Shadegg (Ariz.), Doc Hastings (Wash.), Tom Davis (Va.) and Curt Weldon (Pa.).

Overall, HAL PAC dispensed $15,000 in September to GOP candidates and parties and another $192,000 in the first two weeks of October. For the cycle, HAL PAC has handed out $654,000.

Regula’s Care PAC reported giving $206,000 in September and early October to GOP House and Senate candidates as well as several state Republican parties, which got extra attention from the Ohioan in the past several weeks. Overall this cycle, Regula has handed out $741,000.

Lewis has also boosted his giving at the state level, as his Future Leaders PAC cut checks to 17 state parties in September. The committee dispensed $246,000 from Sept. 1 to Oct. 13, bringing its total donations for the cycle to $568,000.

While all three candidates curried favor with their leadership PACs, they also made ample use of their re-election accounts.

The biggest beneficiary of their largess has been the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has received $600,000 from Lewis, $325,000 from Rogers and $150,000 from Regula — all from their personal campaign accounts. All three men were expected by the leadership to give at least $150,000 in their current roles as Appropriations subcommittee chairmen.

Through Sept. 30, Lewis carried a $1.2 million balance in his campaign account, while Rogers had $929,000 on hand and Regula had just $96,000.

Even as they continue handing out contributions, all three candidates have also been speaking to Republican leaders, members of the Steering Committee and rank-and-file lawmakers in an effort to build support for themselves.

Leadership aides report that their bosses have already received both direct and indirect appeals for their support from the Appropriations hopefuls.

Earmarked projects could also play a key role in deciding which man gets the job. Lewis’ subcommittee on Defense and Regula’s subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies both handed out valuable projects to Steering Committee members and other influential lawmakers.

On the campaign front, Lewis has made appearances for several candidates, including GOP hopefuls in Texas and Georgia. Rogers has raised about $600,000 for Republican candidates, including Rep. Anne Northup (Ky.) and Charles Boustany in Louisiana.