Monday, August 20, 2001

Fund raising starts early


GOP House members getting ready for 2002

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Ohio House Republicans, in office less than eight months, already are holding fund-raisers for the 2002 election.

        House Speaker Larry Householder says the efforts are to help Republicans retain a 59-40 majority.

        When Republicans regained control of the House in 1995, they began inducing lesser leaders and key committee chairmen to raise more than they needed and give the surplus to the caucus.

        House Republicans raised $3.4 million for the 2000 elections — $2.6 million by individual members and candidates.

        Mr. Householder now insists that all members contribute. The money is used to help Republican candidates in marginal districts, and Mr. Householder wants his team to raise money before the statewide candidates get a chance to collect money.

        “I don't even answer the phone this time of year because I know somebody wants money,” a lobbyist, who asked not to be identified, told The Columbus Dispatch for a Sunday story. “I let the voice mail take it.”

        Some lobbyists say Mr. Householder has a quota for each member. Mr. Householder said he believes in setting ambitious goals.

        “You try to set (their fund-raising figure) in a place where they're able to reach it but not where they get frustrated if they can't,” Mr. Householder said. “You want them to have to strain a little. I jot it down on paper. I don't have it written in stone.”

        Under 1996 revisions to Ohio's campaign-finance laws, individuals and political-action committees can give only $5,000 to a caucus. They can contribute $2,500 to each legislative candidate.

        In 2000, some furnished money to the caucus but never made it to the legislature. Cincinnati Republicans Jim Raussen and Tony Condia each sent $40,000 to the caucus. Both lost to Democrats.

        Mr. Householder talked with his 58 GOP colleagues in January about their goals. He has meetings to discuss their progress.

       



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