With one eye on the 1998 elections and another on his ambitions to become president, Vice President Al Gore is preparing to form a political action committee to funnel money to Democratic candidates running for office in November.
Gore’s advisers say the PAC will be more modest in size than similar organizations established by Republicans George Bush and Bob Dole when they were preparing to run for president.
Most of the money raised by Gore’s PAC will go to Democratic candidates running this year, which in turn will help the vice president build support for his anticipated presidential campaign in 2000.
The PAC will offer Gore’s political team the opportunity to retool his personal fund-raising organization and begin to build up lists of contributors for 2000.
The PAC also will help lay the groundwork for the kind of national political organization he will need to mount a presidential campaign.
But in forming the PAC, Gore will draw attention to the issue that plagued him last year: He drew intense criticism for making fund-raising calls from the White House in 1996 and for attending a controversial fund-raising event at a Buddhist temple in California. Attorney General Janet Reno declined to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Gore’s activities.