Campaign contributions to C.W. Bill Young have soared since he became a powerful House chairman.
Rep. C.W. Bill Young has received a big surge in campaign contributions since he became chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee in January.
The Indian Rocks Beach Republican took in $119,140 in the first six months of 1999, and nearly all of it came from donors outside his congressional district.
Eighty percent of Young's new money comes from PACs, most with a stake in issues before his appropriations panel _ defense contractors, lobbyists, medical trade groups and transportation companies.
Young's windfall is a reflection of his new standing as chairman of a committee that oversees about one-third of all federal spending. His receipts this year are six-times higher than in the same period in the last election cycle two years ago, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Harry Glenn, a Young spokesman, said much of the money raised in the past six months by the congressman will soon be given to other like-minded Republican candidates. Young intends to keep only a portion of it for his own campaign, Glenn said.
"When he became chairman, the Republican Party and the party leadership expected him to raise substantial amounts of money to retain the Republican majority in Congress. That's why he's raising so much money so early _ so that he has funds available to help other candidates. It's something that's expected of him as chairman of a major committee," Glenn said.
Glenn said the money went into Young's campaign coffers because until recently the congressman had not established a separate political action committee to collect donations to be distributed to other Republicans. In creating such a PAC, Young is following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, and many other committee chairmen in Congress.
The new PAC has not raised any money yet, Glenn said.
The big surge in Young's contributions drew criticism from Common Cause, the public affairs lobby, which says PACs buy access to Congress through big contributions.
"It's a classic example of how the Washington money culture works," said Don Simon, the group's executive vice president. "Being chairman of a committee is always a boon to a member's fundraising. Special interest groups want to buy influence with powerful members."
Glenn responded that Young's contributions come from donors who represent all sides of the issues before the Appropriations Committee.
Added to Young's previous contributions, the new money gives him $336,034 in his campaign account, probably enough to ward off any challenger. Young has run unopposed in six of his past 10 elections and hasn't had a serious race since 1992, when he beat Karen Moffitt by winning 57 percent of the vote.
When Young chaired the defense subcommittee, he got lots of money from defense PACs that had an interest in bills financing the operations of the Defense and Energy departments. Now that he has a broader role, Young oversees all aspects of the federal budget and gets money from a wider range of contributors.
In addition to a solid base of contributions from defense PACs such as General Dynamics, Honeywell and Lockheed Martin, Young also received PAC money from labor unions, utilities, home builders and veterinarians.
Simon said Young's 80 percent share from PACs is "a very high percentage of PAC money." Typically, House members get about 40 to 50 percent of their campaign money from PACs.
Like the PAC contributors, most of the people who contributed to Young's campaign also have a stake in his committee's actions _ lobbyists, business executives and farmers.
None of the individual contributors are from Young's district in Pinellas and only three of the PACs are based anywhere in the county _ the Honeywell Florida PAC in Clearwater and the Florida Power Corp. and Primex Technologies PACs in St. Petersburg.
Simon said that indicates the contributions "are coming not from constituents . . . but from special interests that try to buy influence with powerful committee chairmen."
Glenn explained there were so few local contributers because Young has not had any fundraising events in Pinellas this year. "He generally doesn't raise money from folks in Pinellas in the off years," Glenn said.
With so much money and no likely opposition, Young is free to spend his campaign money on items that are considered a luxury for many candidates _ meals for constituents at posh Washington restaurants, gifts from Honey Baked Hams for campaign volunteers and campaign dinners from the Texas Cattle Company in St. Petersburg and Roger's Real Pit Bar-B-Que in Largo.
_ Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report.
Since Rep. C.W. Bill Young became chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee in January, he's gotten a hefty windfall in campaign contributions. He received $119,140 this year, compared with about $19,000 at the same point two years ago. Eighty percent of the contributions have come from political action committees.
A. Duda & Sons PAC $500.00
Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association PAC $1,000.00
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld Civic Action
Alliant Techsystems Employee Citizenship Fund $1,000.00
Allison Engine Company PAC $500.00
American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and
Neck Surgery PAC $1,000.00
American AIDS Political Action Committee $500.00
American Consulting Engineers Council PAC $1,000.00
American Dental Association PAC $500.00
American Forest & Paper Association PAC $1,000.00
American Hospital Association PAC $1,000.00
American Maritime Officers Voluntary Political
Action Fund $1,000.00
American Trucking PAC $1,000.00
American Veterinary Medical Association PAC $1,000.00
Associated Builders & Contractors PAC $1,000.00
Association for the Advancement of Psychology PAC $200.00
AT&T Political Action Committee $1,000.00
Avondale Industries Political Action Fund $1,000.00
Bechtel Political Action Committee $500.00
BellSouth Telecommunications Federal PAC $500.00
Boeing Political Action Committee $1,500.00
Build PAC of the National Association of
Home Builders $2,500.00
Building Our Bases PAC $2,500.00
Burson-Marsteller Political Action Committee $1,000.00
Career College Association PAC $500.00
Cellular Telecommunications Industry PAC $500.00
Credit Union Legislative Action Council $1,000.00
CSR America Political Action Committee $1,000.00
CSX Transportation, Inc. PAC $1,000.00
Cubic Corporation Employees PAC $2,000.00
Daimler-Chrysler Corporation Political
Support Committee $1,000.00
Dickinson Campaign Fund $500.00
EDO Corporation Political Action Committee $500.00
Electronic Data Systems Employees PAC $500.00
Employees of Northrup Grumman PAC $1,000.00
Fisheries PAC $1,000.00
Florida Citrus Mutual PAC $1,000.00
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association $500.00
Florida Health PAC of Blue Cross/Blue Shield $1,000.00
Florida Power & Light PAC $1,000.00
Florida Power Corporation POWERPAC $1,000.00
Food Marketing Institute PAC $1,000.00
Gencorp Political Action Committee $1,000.00
General Atomics PAC $1,000.00
General Dynamics Voluntary Contribution $3,000.00
General Electric Company PAC $1,000.00
Gulfstream Aerospace PAC $1,000.00
Halliburton Political Action Committee $500.00
Harris Corporation Federal PAC $2,000.00
Holland & Knight Committee for Effective Government $1,000.00
Honeywell Florida PAC $1,000.00
Hopkins & Sutter Political Fund $1,000.00
International Organization of Masters, Mates,
and Pilots Political Contribution Fund $1,000.00
ITT Industries PAC $500.00
Kaman Corporation Good Government Fund $1,000.00
King & Spalding Nonpartisan Committee for
Good Government $1,000.00
Litton Employees Political Assistance Committee $500.00
Lockheed Martin Employees' PAC $3,000.00
Lucent Tecnologies PAC $1,500.00
Machinetool Political Action Committee $500.00
Marconi USA PAC $500.00
McDermott, Will & Emery PAC $1,000.00
Microsoft Corporation PAC $500.00
Morrison Knudsen PAC $1,000.00
National Association of Air Traffic
Specialist Political Action Fund $500.00
National Committee to Preserve
Social Security and Medicare PAC $500.00
National Roofing Contractors Association PAC $500.00
NationsBank Corporation PAC $1,000.00
Newport News Shipbuilding PAC $5,000.00
Nuclear Energy Institute Federal PAC $500.00
Oshkosh Truck Corporation Employees PAC $1,000.00
Paul Magliocchetti Associates PAC $1,000.00
Primex Technologies PAC $2,000.00
Prostate Cancer Research PAC $1,000.00
Raytheon Political Action Committee $2,000.00
Realtors Political Action Committee $1,000.00
Responsible Government Committee of Gulf Employees $500.00
Science Applications International Corporation
Voluntary PAC $2,000.00
Sea-Land Associates Good Government Fund $1,000.00
Service Employees International COPE, US Division $1,000.00
Shell Employees Political Awareness Committee $500.00
TECO Energy Employees PAC $1,000.00
Texaco Political Involvement Committee $500.00
Textron Political Action Committee $1,000.00
TRW Good Government Fund $2,000.00
United Defense Employees' PAC $1,000.00
United Parcel Service PAC $1,000.00
United Technologies PAC $1,000.00
Universal Studios PAC $1,000.00
Vocational Political Action Committee $500.00
Worldcom Inc. Federal PAC $1,000.00
Source: Federal Election Commission