The National Republican Congressional Committee, escalating its campaign to defeat Rep. Frank Annunzio (D-Ill.) by linking him to the savings and loan scandal, yesterday filed a complaint against the Chicago Democrat with the Federal Election Commission.
The complaint, which comes less than a week after Democratic Party officials filed an S&L-related ethics complaint against Rep. Denny Smith (R-Ore.), alleges that Annunzio violated campaign laws by failing to disclose that 20 campaign contributors had ties to a Maryland thrift institution. Congressional candidates are required to make "best efforts" to identify the employers of contributors who give $200 or more to their campaigns.
The $8,000 in contributions from people associated with Standard Federal Savings Bank of Gaithersburg was first disclosed last week by National Journal.
Annunzio yesterday released a statement calling the FEC complaint "the product of my desperate opponent and an even more desperate Republican National Committee."
The complaints against Annunzio and Smith represent an intensification of efforts by both parties to tie incumbent members of the House to the costly collapse of the U.S. thrift industry. Annunzio, a senior member of the House banking committee, has also come under attack for accepting contributions from indicted thrift executive Charles H. Keating Jr. and for his two sons-in-laws' employment with a thrift lobbying group.
Annunzio also sought to obtain a job with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board for one of his sons-in-law, Kevin Tynan, according to a 1983 letter he sent to then-bank board chairman Richard T. Pratt. At the time he sent the letter, a copy of which was obtained yesterday by The Washington Post, Annunzio was the fourth-ranking Democrat on the banking committee and chairman of one of the panel's subcommittees.
An internal memo from the bank board's executive staff director to the agency's congressional relations director indicates that Tynan was offered a position with the bank board at about the same time but declined it.
Annunzio said there was nothing improper about his letter on behalf of Tynan. "It's ridiculous," he said. "I wrote a letter, he never got a job."
Though Annunzio's letter indicated Tynan was interested in a paid position with the bank board, Tynan said yesterday he was only seeking an unpaid post on a bank board public advisory group.