- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2000

Republicans appear to have a comfortable cash advantage over Democrats for the final six weeks of presidential and congressional campaigning.

The Republican National Committee said it raised $29 million in August to help regain the White House and persuade voters to keep a Republican majority in both houses of Congress.

RNC spokesman Bill Pascoe said the committee has $63.3 million in cash, including $31.8 million in "soft money" that can be donated in unlimited amounts to state Republican committees for issue advertising and get-out-the-vote drives.

President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore have waged an aggressive soft-money fund-raising campaign since the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, but the Democratic National Committee has refused to divulge the size of its political war chest.

The Democratic National Committee took in $26 million at big-ticket events in the four weeks since the convention, including $5.1 million at a post-convention gala featuring Barbra Streisand and $6.5 million at a concert at Radio City Music Hall last week.

Unlike the RNC, which provides monthly reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the DNC reports quarterly and has declined to disclose its current cash situation. The Democrats' next report is not due until Oct. 15.

In July, the DNC reported raising $64.4 million from April through June. The RNC raised $86.6 million in the same period.

In addition to party money, the presidential campaigns of Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush each were certified to receive $67.6 million from the FEC for the general election race.

Yesterday, Mr. Gore's campaign reported raising $3.1 million in August, including $138,210 in federal matching funds for contributions of $250 or less. The Gore campaign had a total of $9.5 million cash on hand on Sept. 1 after spending $3.7 million during the month of August.

Mr. Bush's campaign reported raising $3.8 million in August all from individual contributors as he refused to accept federal matching money prior to receiving the Republican nomination. Both parties received $13.5 million in federal contributions for their nominating conventions. The Bush campaign said it had $9.4 million cash on hand after spending $2.5 million last month.

Republicans have far outpaced Democrats in congressional campaign fund raising. By mid-July, the National Republican Congressional Committee reported raising a total of $55.8 million since January 1999, compared with $29.3 million raised by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In addition, the NRCC had raised $34.1 million in soft money since January 1999 as the DCCC raised $31.1 million.

The two parties' congressional committees file quarterly reports with the FEC and neither would disclose their current hard-money totals yesterday.

Federal law requires that, for each campaign dollar spent, 65 cents must be hard money and 35 cents can be soft money, but no soft money may be used in direct support of individual candidates.

Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, chairman of the DCCC, and House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, have stepped up hard-money fund raising so the DCCC will be legally able to spend its $15 million soft-money balance reported in mid-July.

The DCCC then reported having $11.1 million cash on hand, which would enable the committee to use less than half its reported soft-money balance of $14.9 million.

• Jennifer Kabbany contributed to this report.

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