The latest spat between Republican presidential rivals Sen. Robert J. Dole (Kan.) and Vice President Bush revolves around the spelling of the first name of a 90-year-old woman in Shawnee, Kan.
Vala Morgan, it seems, is a Dole contributor and the grandmother of Dole campaign counsel Scott Morgan. Her name was purposely misspelled "Valla" in reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Campaigns are allowed to "salt" their contributor lists with up to 10 phony names to see if rivals try to poach the names for their own use. It is illegal to use names from rival donor lists for solicitations.
The Dole campaign gleefully reported last week that "Valla" Morgan recently received a direct mail solicitation from the Bush campaign. Dole's general counsel fired off a letter to the Bush camp, calling attention to the "very serious matter" and demanding an investigation and an explanation.
Bush counsel Jan Baran answered last week, saying that Vala Morgan was one of fewer than 300 names sent to the campaign by its Kansas finance chairman, B.B. Andersen of Kansas City.
Andersen denied in a phone interview that he had swiped the Morgan name from an FEC list. "I wouldn't even know where to write and get one," he said. He said he might have gotten Morgan's name from a friend who is a Dole supporter. "Once in a while we share names," he said.