In terms of financial backing, the four congressmen whose districts surround Washington represent one of the clearest ideological splits in the nation between business and organized labor.
West of the Potomac--and firmly to the political right--the two Virginia Republican representatives, Stanford E. Parris and Frank R. Wolf, were elected with the strong backing of corporate America.
On the other side--to the East of the Potomac but on the political left--the two Maryland Democrats, Steny H. Hoyer and Michael D. Barnes, received exceptionally strong backing from organized labor.
The one area representative who does not fit the pattern is Walter E. Fauntroy, the District's nonvoting delegate.
Although the contributions to the four other representatives have a strong ideological tenor--the business community wants to elect conservative Republicans and labor wants liberal Democrats--much of Fauntroy's support is from groups that have a direct interest in the decisions of the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee, where Fauntroy, a Democrat, does have a vote. Fauntroy's major sources of support from political action committees (PACs) are the banking, housing and credit industries.
In the case of Parris, the political action committees of 127 corporations gave his campaign chest a total of $86,450, according to Federal Election Commission records covering 1981 through the present.
Although the corporate PAC donors to Parris include many from the banking and credit industries--Parris serves on the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee--these PACs run the gamut from Amoco ($750) to the Whittaker Corp. ($1,000) on a 21-page computer print-out.
Not to be outdone, Wolf, a member of the Public Works Committee, raised $94,200 from 175 corporate PACs. These PACs include a solid sprinkling of such construction and construction-related firms as the Bechtel Corp. ($250), the Halliburton Co. ($1,000), Deere and Co. ($500) and the Fluor Corp. ($250).
As in Parris' case, however, the business PACs include many that have little or no direct interest in Wolf's committee decisions. The FEC print-out of Wolf's PAC contributions is 24 pages long.
Both Parris and Wolf received strong support from the oil industry, which has been the most aggressive segment of the business community seeking to push Congress toward the right and to increase GOP strength. Oil PACs, and those construction and drilling PACs with close ties to the industry, gave Parris $23,750 and Wolf $24,250.
While far more supportive of Republicans, the oil industry received major tax cuts in both the GOP and the Democratic tax reductions proposals of 1981. The eventually successful legislation backed by President Reagan provided oil tax cuts of $11 billion over five years.
Hoyer, during the past two years, received a total of $131,376 from 61 different unions and employe organizations, by far the largest amount he got from any single interest group.
Most of this money was contributed before Hoyer took office and consequently the contributors did not know which committee he would serve on. Among the unions giving the strongest backing were the American Federation of Government Employees ($10,226), the Food and Commercial Workers ($8,300), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ($7,900) and the Machinists and Aerospace Workers ($8,250). These and other unions dominate the 17-page printout of his PAC donors.
Since winning his seat, Hoyer was assigned to the Post Office and Civil Service Committee, a panel of major importance to government unions, and he appears likely to win a spot on the Appropriations Committee, a position of wide-ranging leverage.
Hoyer's campaign contributions are unusual. In addition to the November contest, he ran in a May 1981, special election to fill the vacancy created by Gladys N. Spellman's retirement because of illness. The contest was seen as one of the first tests of Republican and Democratic strength after President Reagan's 1980 election. As a consequence, fund-raising activity was disproportionately intense, and traditional Democratic backers gave more than might normally be expected.
Barnes, in turn, received a total of $44,191 from 33 unions and employe organizations. Barnes serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, which is considered one of the worst panels for those seeking to raise campaign money. Among the unions giving Barnes large amounts were the Communications Workers of America ($5,000), the Machinists ($2,200), the Seafarers ($2,500) and the Sheet Metal Workers ($5,000). Barnes did not face serious opposition in November, and the printout of his PAC contributors runs only 6 pages.
These figures further demonstrate the split between business and labor in terms of backing area representatives:
For Parris, corporate PAC contributions represented 33 percent of his total PAC contributions of $263,342, and 12 percent of his entire receipts, including those from individuals, $713,925. For Wolf, the corporate PAC money represented 39 percent of the funds received from PACs, $240,595, and 18 percent of his total campaign fund, $523,462.
Hoyer's backing from the employe organizations was just over half his total PAC support, 54 percent of $243,451, and 23 percent of his total backing, $564,936. For Barnes, labor provided almost all, 77 percent, of his PAC support, $56,813, and 16 percent of his total campaign, $281,759.
The other side of the coin emerges in the following: Barnes got only $1,350 from business PACs, or 0.5 percent of his total campaign receipts; and Hoyer got $12,550, or 2.2 percent. Organized labor gave Parris $5,000, or 0.7 of his campaign fund; and Wolf got $1,600, or 0.3 percent.
Compared to the two other Democrats in the area, Hoyer and Barnes, Fauntroy is unusual in that nearly half his PAC contributions, $15,305 out of $34,793, comes from the banking and credit industries, while a relatively small amount, $6,156, came from unions.
Although Fauntroy does not have a vote on the floor of the House, he does in the Banking Committee. The American Bankers Association gave him $1,500; the Beneficial Management Corp., $800; Citicorp, $1,000; the National Association of Mutual Savings Banks, $1,700; and the U.S. League of Savings Associations, $2,200.
In contrast to corporate and labor PACs, trade associations were far more bipartisan in their support of the D.C.-area representatives, providing major support for Hoyer, Parris, Wolf and Fauntroy.
The medical-health lobby PACs gave more than $10,000 to Hoyer, Parris and Wolf--$11,750, $13,100 and $13,550, respectively. All three voted in favor of a highly controversial amendment exempting doctors and other professionals from the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission. Barnes, who only got $600 from medical PACs, voted against the amendment.
Another controversial bill, domestic content legislation requiring that U.S. materials be used in increasingly high percentages in automobiles sold in this country, was strongly backed by the United Automobile Workers.
The UAW gave a total of $8,250 to Hoyer and $2,000 to Barnes, both of whom voted for the bill. Parris and Wolf got nothing from the UAW, and both Virginia representatives voted against the legislation.
Along similar lines, Common Cause calculated that defense contractors standing to profit from the development of the MX missile gave relatively small amounts to Hoyer and Barnes, $250 and $600, respectively. Both voted to eliminate the procurement money. Parris received $1,850 and Wolf got $4,100 from the MX contractors. Both voted to continue spending for the missile.
The single PAC providing the largest amount of money, $36,050, to the D.C.-area representatives was the American Medical Association and its state affiliates, of which $6,000 went to Fauntroy, $10,000 to Parris, $10,000 to Wolf, $9,550 to Hoyer and $500 to Barnes.
This was nearly matched, however, in the amount of support the National Association of Realtors gave just one of the representatives. Using a provision in the law allowing PACs to exceed the $10,000 limit by making "independent" expenditures, the Reators provided $28,303 for Parris' reelection. In addition, the organization gave $5,000 to the Wolf campaign, $250 to Hoyer and $260 to Fauntroy.
The Greater Washington Board of Trade gave to all the incumbent area representatives, although each did not get the same amount. Fauntroy got $1,250; Parris, $1,700; Wolf, $1,900; Hoyer, $2,000; and Barnes, $500.