With the speaker of the House no longer in the way, U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt finds campaign money easier to come by.
The freshman Republican’s 1994 campaign committee is no longer in debt. He has almost $140,000 for his re-election bid, according to 1995 reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission.
Nethercutt, who has no announced opponent yet, said he hasn’t done much fund raising for the fall elections, and believes the campaign may only cost about $250,000.
“I’ve made votes that a majority of my constituents support,” Nethercutt said. “I don’t want to go from congressional mode to campaign mode. But it depends on who the challengers are going to be, if there’s going to be a millionaire who wants to spend $10 zillion on the race or not.”
As in 1994 when he unseated Speaker Tom Foley, most of Nethercutt’s money comes from individuals in Washington state. Of the 116 people who have given more than $200 to his 1996 campaign since June, only 11 have out-of-state addresses.
“Nethercutt represents a change,” said Oscar Calkins, 75, a lifelong Spokane resident who contributed $1,000 in November and also gave to the 1994 campaign. “To me, Tom Foley was one of the leaders who bankrupted our country.”
Foley, the first speaker to be defeated in a re-election bid in more than 130 years, received 55 percent of his 1994 funds from political action committees. Nethercutt received about 20 percent of his 1996 funds so far from PACs double the share he received as a challenger.
Nethercutt’s 1996 campaign committee transferred more than $18,000 to his 1994 committee, to pay off debt from that campaign. Such transfers are allowed under federal rules.
Several large PACs have switched sides in the post-Foley era, suggesting that incumbency already has been kind to Nethercutt.
The National Restaurant Association gave money to both candidates in 1994, then contributed another $2,000 to Nethercutt last December.
“He’s supported our industry in Congress, and he’s voted with us 80 to 90 percent of the time,” said Don Thoren, director of political affairs with the restaurant PAC.
Many PAC donations reflect Nethercutt’s position on the appropriations subcommittees that oversee funding for agriculture and defense. Boeing, a major Northwest defense contractor, gave Nethercutt $1,750 for next September’s primary election. The American Sugar Cane League and the Food Marketing Institute each gave $500.
Nethercutt, who has consistently said he would refuse money from the tobacco industry, refused a $500 contribution from RJR Nabisco last year.
Federal law says PACs can give a candidate as much as $5,000 for a primary election campaign and another $5,000 for a general election. Individuals are limited to $1,000 per candidate per election.
Seafirst Associates: $5,000 to Foley from May to October 1994; $3,900 to Nethercutt from November 1994 to July 1995.
U.S. Bancorp: $5,500 to Foley from November 1993 to November 1994; $1,500 to Nethercutt in July 1995.
National Restaurant Association: $1,000 to Foley in November 1993; $7,000 to Nethercutt from September 1994 to December 1995.
American Medical Association: $5,000 to Foley from November 1993 to March 1994; $5,000 to Nethercutt in December 1994.
Reynolds Metals: $3,000 to Foley from June 1993 to October 1994; $250 to Nethercutt in May 1995.
Kaiser Aluminum: $1,000 to Foley in August 1994; $1,000 to Nethercutt in March 1995.
Plum Creek Management: $3,000 to Foley from November 1993 to May 1994; $500 to Nethercutt in February 1995.
, DataTimesMEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: CHANGING HORSES Political action committees that contributed to Tom Foley for his 1994 campaign, but later gave money to George Nethercutt: Boeing: $10,000 to Foley from June 1993 to August 1994; $4,750 to Nethercutt from December 1994 to December 1995. Lockheed-Martin: $3,000 to Foley from June 1993 and to May 1994; $500 to Nethercutt in July 1995.