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It was rare sight for Washington: a fund raiser where money from political action committees was not welcome.

But Republican Senate candidate Joe Cannon held such a fund raiser Thursday evening. He has refused to accept PAC money, saying he does not want special interests to believe he owes them any favors.Still, several people at Cannon's reception introduced themselves as business leaders or lobbyists - the same type of people who usually present checks from PACs at other fund raisers.

But Cannon's invitation letter warned them to bring personal checks and no money from PACs.

"Joe has made a conscious decision not to take contributions from political action committees," the invitation letter said. "Consequently, his campaign will depend on contributions from people like you and your colleagues for support.

"While any contribution will be greatly appreciated, we are suggesting donations of $500 checks payable to Cannon for Senate," it said. "Personal checks only, please. Federal law prohibits corporate contributions," it reminded invitees.

Joining the business leaders and lobbyists were some old neighbors and friends of Cannon from when he lived in Washington as an Environmental Protection Agency official.

Cannon's invitation letter told invitees that because of his background at EPA and work as Geneva Steel president, Cannon could help balance "environmental issues with the need to keep American business strong and competitive in the 1990s."

While Cannon has not accepted PAC money, he has filled much of the void with his own money. Cannon provided 95 percent of his campaign's net revenue in 1991 - nearly $1.5 million in loans and donations.