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Vote Tues., Nov. 5—Farmington Hills Council
"In the last Farmington Hills election I was elected by one vote
. . . was that YOUR VOTE? I need your support again!"
Paid for by Ben Marks for Farmington Hills, James Burroughs, Treas.
candidates backed by National
PAC won. (By comparison, only
80 percent of the candidates
backed last year by 17 major
PACS were victorious, according
to a study by Washington, D.C.
political scientist Larry Boyle.)
But backing winners does not
necessarily mean that your side
prevais on Capitol Hill. Like the
Jewish PACs, the National
Association of Arab Americans
PAC (NAAA PAC) also had a
high proportion of winning can-
didates last year — 85 percent.
But neither the Arab nor the
Jewish PACs can rightfully
claim — solely on the basis that
they gave a congressman money
— that he or she will vote with
them on every issue pertaining
to the Mideast (especially since
29 percent of the candidates who
took pro-Israel money, a won-
derful example of a candidate
buttering his political bread on
PAC proponents repeatedly
state thaty they are not "buying
votes," they are buying "access."
"A member of Congress will
have more incentive to return
phone calls from someone who
gave him $10,000 than from
some anonymous — and broke
— farmer in his district," said
the head of one Jewish PAC.
The tendency of pro-Israel and
pro-Arab PACs to channel a
good share of their funds to the
same congressmen does not
necessarily mean they are
engaged in a bidding war. (A
war which the NAAA PAC
would necessarily lose, at least
for now. Its 1984 campaign con-
tributions equalled less than .9
percent of total contributions
from Jewish PACs.) But it does
indicate that both types of PACs
seek "access" to the same con-
gressmen. Rep. Dante Fascell
(D-Fla.), for example, the head
of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, received $23,500
from Jewish PACs and only
$200 from NAAA PAC. Rep.
David Obey (D-Wis.), who suc-
ceeded Clarence Long as chair-
man of the House Foreign Oper-
ations Appropriations Subcom-
mittee, received $5,000 from
National PAC and $350 from
NAAA PAC. The ledger clearly
favors Jewish PACs.
(Even those candidates who
strike a pose of integrity by im-
posing a limit on funds they will
accept from PACs are not im-
mune from receiving contribu-
tions from both Arab and
Jewish political action commit-
tees. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum
(R-N.Y.), for instance, would not
accept more than $2,000 from a
PAC last year. She received this
amount from National PAC —
and also $250 from NAAA
A more amorphous way to
evaluate a PAC's effectiveness is
to look at what one Capitol in-
sider called "the atmospherics of
politics." "Much of politics is
psychological," he said. "Influ-
ence is a perceived reality. In
the last few years, congressmen
have been falling all over them-
selves in their rush to vote for
aid to Israel. They used to be
much more critical. This is a
sign that Jewish PACs are effec-
tive. Congressmen know that
Jews around the country can de-
liver. What they deliver is cam-
paign money. And money gets
some to Capitol Hill. Even con-
gressmen with a minuscule
Jewish constituency — or no
Jewish constituency — will
think twice about voting against
This view that Jews have new
political power "has made even
our enemies come around," said
middle money and
produced the most
Robert Golder of Delaware Val-
ley PAC. "Even Jesse Helms has
asked Jews why they tried to
PACs have also changed Jews'
perception of their own power.
For instance, after Jewish PACs
poured almost $322,000 into Il-
linois to successfully topple Sen.
Charles Percy, AIPAC director
Tom Dine told the Council of
Jewish Federations that Percy's
defeat had "defined Jewish
power for the rest of the cen-
tury. That win will reverber-
Before the days of pro-Israel
PACs, Jews usually dealt only
with their own congressmen.
Now they study voting records,
policy statements, debate tran-
scripts of congressmen from
thousands of miles away. Of the
32 candidates backed last year
by the pro-Israel Louisianians
for American Security PAC,
only eight ran in Louisiana; of
the 55 candidates backed by
Tucson-based Desert Caucus,
none came from Arizona. For
many Jews, the days of precinct
politics may be over. Through
their PACs, they deal with an
international issue — the Mid- .
dle East — at a national level.
With congressmen constantly
pursuing them for funds and as-
suring them of their allegiance
to Israel, Jewish PACs — and
the broader Jewish community
— sense a new, invigorating
clout in Washington.
A few years ago, Washington
humorist Mark Russell said,
"PAC people say they're for good
government and they're not try-
ing to unduly influence anyone.
But if they're not getting any,
why is 'action' their middle