In an unusual gesture, Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) this week dipped into his campaign treasury to help home-state Republicans try to regain control of the legislature.
Packwood announced Thursday that he was taking $32,000 from the $3.5 million he reported having on hand Dec. 31 for his reelection campaign and giving it to the Oregon Republican Party. The party will use the money to hire state Rep. Randy Miller, the assistant minority leader, to work full time for the next eight months with Republican candidates in closely contested districts.
The tactic drew a loud protest from Oregon House Speaker Vera Katz (D), who accused Packwood of "breaking faith" with people who had given him money for his own campaign. She said Packwood had raised "large sums" from women's groups and "pro-choice" individuals because of his stands on feminist issues and abortion and said that Miller and many of the candidates he will be aiding are backed by "pro-life" groups.
Etta Fielek, Packwood's top assistant, said that Packwood segregates his campaign funds by source, so that no pro-choice money would go to a pro-life legislative campaign. State Rep. Larry Campbell, the Republican minority leader, said Katz and other Democrats "raise money from businessmen and give it to candidates I certainly consider antibusiness."
Packwood told Republicans in a speech last weekend he would do everything in his power to help them regain a majority in the Oregon House. The Republicans need to gain five seats in the November elections to take over the 60-member body.
Fielek said federal campaign statutes prevent Packwood from transferring money from his campaign fund to that of another candidate for U.S. office, but place no restrictions on his making contributions to the state party or to individual state candidates. CAPTION: Picture, Sen. Bob Packwood . . . an offering from his $3.5 million war chest.