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ROOKIES DON’T HAVE A CHANCE WITH PACS

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For the most part, the main congressional political battles in November will be between the incumbents and the challengers. The smart money is on the incumbents who are leading the challengers by odds of 8 to 1.

I visited the training camp of Sen. Sang Froid, who is up for re-election and has victory written all over him. I talked to Artie Maytag, the senator's manager."Your boy looks good," I told him.

"We're taking this match seriously. We are asking every political action committee to double their contribution."

While we were talking, a man came up and gave Artie a satchel of bills. Artie explained to me who the man was. "He represents the solid waste hub-cap industry, and they consider Sang the best friend they have on The Hill."

"Doesn't the lobbyist even get to go to a fund-raising dinner for that?" I asked.

"Dinners went out with narrow lapels. Now it's cash on the barrel. Frankly, even at $1,000-a-plate, the food was never that good."

A woman in a jogging suit ran by and stuck a check in Artie's pocket.

"She's from the canned halibut industry. The senator heads all the legislation on canned fish."

"Do the PACs ever distribute money to the challenger?"

"Why should they? The senator is their man - the special interests aren't going to waste their resources on an unknown rookie. This guy coming by now distributes all the funds for the fruitcake makers of America. He knows where Sang stands on fruitcake - so when he dumps his cash in that waste-paper basket over there, he's betting on Sang making fruitcake the national dessert of the country."

"The way things are going with the PACs it appears that a challenger may never win an election."

"I wouldn't know about that. My job is to make sure that those people who expect the senator to do favors for them when he gets elected, do right by him now. You remember Harry Tudoroff, the lobbyist for the bubble-gum workers of America?"

"I remember him, but I haven't seen him around," I replied.

"The reason you haven't seen him around is because he split his PAC contributions during the last election between the senator and the challenger, and we kicked him out of our Boosters' Club. From then on it was all downhill for him."

A Brinks truck drove by and two guards started to unload the money.

Artie said, "That's the savings & loans' contribution. They bring one every day hoping the senator will bail them out."

"Will he?"

"The senator has always believed that, while making a few mistakes, the S&Ls always had their hearts in the right place. "

"I wish there was some way that I could help, but I really don't have any legislation I want passed."

"It doesn't matter. We take money from honest citizens, too."