Late last month, one of the national cochairmen of the presidential campaign of Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) sent a letter to political action committees (PACs) affiliated with the savings-and-loan industry, making an unusual plea for contributions:

"I would not be surprised if your PAC is reluctant to give to presidential candidates," Joe C. Morris, president of Columbia Savings in Emporia, Kan., wrote, but he added that giving to Dole "would be a no-lose proposition for you, your PAC and our business."

Not only is Dole a "proven leader and statesman," according to Morris, "but should he not win, Senator Dole will still be an extremely important and powerful person who can have a great impact on our business. For certainly, he would continue to be either Senate majority leader or Senate minority leader," Morris noted, without pointing to Dole's senior position on the influential Senate Finance Committee.

Morris said he wrote the letter on his own, without consulting the Dole campaign. "This was a letter I wrote right here at my desk. The campaign did not see the letter," he said.

When campaign officials were asked about a letter, they said the tactic of attempting to solicit the business community by capitalizing on Dole's powerful position in the Senate is not acceptable. "We see no reason to make that kind of campaign pitch," Dole spokeswoman Katie Boyle said. She said officials have asked Morris to stop using the letter. Bill Lacy, national political director, said, "We do not like people doing that."

Despite these disclaimers, however, there are at least two instances when Dole appears to have pointedly noted to prospective contributors in the corporate community that even if his presidential bid fails, he will be a force to contend with in Washington after Nov. 8, 1988.

On Sept. 29, the Omaha World-Herald reported that Dole spoke at a private fund-raiser that included about 50 potential donors, many active in agribusiness.

"Dole reminded them that he would be in Washington even if he loses the nomination," although " 'If {Vice President} Bush loses, we don't know where he will be.' " The event yielded an estimated $50,000.

Similarly, at a Washington meeting roughly six weeks ago of the American Business Conference, an organization of mid-sized corporations, Dole, according to sources there, said he would be in the nation's capital, "no matter what happens" in the election.

Asked about these reports, Lacy said he had no knowledge of Dole basing a contribution request on his influence regardless of the outcome of his presidential campaign.

In contrast to congressional elections, PACs ususally play a very small role in presidential fund-raising. Dole and Bush are the two leaders in PAC contributions, running far ahead of all competitors, Democrat and Republican, with $335,000 and $337,000, respectively. Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) is third with $256,000.