The "boardroom speech" and the "leadership seminar" are two relatively new twists in the old game of how to give honorariums of up to $2,000 to senators.
Pan American World Airways has played the "boardroom speech" game for about 20 members of Congress over the past four years, although that is not the way the company looks at it.
As explained by Rosemary Murray, a Pan Am lobbyist here, the program brings busy legislators to New York for a tour of Kennedy Airport facilities and meetings with top corporate officers. Since that takes up at least a day of the congressman's time, it is only right that Pan Am pay expenses involved and throw in a $1,000 honorarium for a speech to Pan Am's AWARE group (25 to 40 employes who talk about the company's "problems and goals"), according to Murray.
There is another aspect to the visit, as expressed in a letter sent to one legislator who eventually went to New York. Some of Pan Am's senior executives, the letter said, "would like to share their views on issues that Congress considers that will impact on the aviation industry."
One of last year's visitors was Rep. Adam Benjamin Jr. (D-Ind.), chairman of the House Appropriations transportation subcommittee. Benjamin not only got his $1,000 honorarium, but another $653 that he said were the expenses for himself and his wife on the trip.
Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.) was another target for Pan Am. He is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on business trade and tourism, and during hearings had expressed an interest in learning more about Pan Am's operations.
There is also another side to Pressler. He lives solely on his Senate salary and what he gets from speeches. His one piece of property, 60 acres of farmland in Minnehaha County, S.D., is worth, he said, between $15,000 and $50,000. Pressler said he still owes almost the entire amount under a contract that is to be paid off by March, 1987.
For Pressler, the $22,500 he reported in honorariums last year seems a welcomed addition to his income.
Other recipients of Pan Am's New York trip and $1,000 honorarium were Sen. J. James Exon (D-Neb.), a member of Pressler's transportation subcommittee; Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. (R-Calif.), a member of the House Public Works subcommittee on aviation, and Rep. William H. Boner (D-Tenn.), another member of that subcommittee.
Dozens of other companies have entered the "boardroom speech" business, most often directing their honorariums to members whose committee assignments parallel corporate interests. These include defense contractors such as Boeing, Hughes Helicopters, Pratt & Whitney and Northrop; drug companies such as Pfizer; agriculture firms such as Connell Rice & Sugar, and cigarette companies such as Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson and R.J. Reynolds.
The seminar game is best illustrated by the programs put on the past two years by the Washington public relations firm of Ernest Wittenberg Associates Inc. Money is charged for representatives of corporate and other interests to meet with key senators, who, in turn, are given $2,000 to appear.
For "A Day with the Senate Leadership/'82," held this past January, attendees paid Wittenberg $285 apiece. Some 180 came, according to a Wittenberg employe, and heard from Majority Leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (R-Tenn.) and six Senate committee chairmen: Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.), Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), Jake Garn (R-Utah), James A. McClure (R-Idaho) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).
For the $2,000 honorarium, each senator spoke for about 20 minutes and answered questions for another 30 minutes, according to the Wittenberg staff member.