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Funding disparity apparent



Published: Fri, February 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Jim Traficant's congressional campaign spent more than twice as much as it took in during the second half of 2001.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- If money wins congressional campaigns, U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. and state Sen. Robert F. Hagan have a long way to go to compete.

Federal financial campaign reports show Traficant, a Poland Democrat, and Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, seriously lag behind U.S. Rep. Thomas C. Sawyer, an Akron Democrat, in funds.

Hagan has announced he is running for Congress in the new 17th District. Traficant, a nine-term congressman, is expected to run in the same district, and Sawyer, an eight-term congressman, is considering seeking that congressional seat.

Traficant's figures: Traficant spent twice as much money as he brought in during the second half of 2001, according to his annual campaign report, filed with the Federal Election Commission. Traficant has $48,566 in his campaign fund going into this year.

Fifteen individuals and four political action committees donated $11,140 to Traficant's campaign during the second half of 2001. During the first half of 2001, Traficant got $11,150 from campaign donors.

Also, during the latter part of last year, Traficant had to refund $2,500 in contributions to two donors -- one who gave $1,500 in December 2000 and the other who donated $1,000 in January 2001. The reason for the refund was not explained.

As for his $24,641 in expenses, Traficant spent $2,808 for the use of Avalon South Golf Course for a fund-raiser, and $1,504 went to Chrystal Catering Inc. of Youngstown to cater that outing.

Traficant also paid a $3,000 late-filing fine to the Federal Election Commission.

Most of the other listed expenses were for food and campaign expenses, according to Traficant's report.

Hagan's report: Hagan's congressional fund did next-to-nothing during the final six months of 2001 and ended the year with $3,797. Hagan received a $500 donation from PACE PEP Funds, a Nashville, Tenn., political committee, and had $525 in expenses. His committee still owes $4,000 to Burges and Burges Strategists Inc., a Cleveland consulting firm, for work the company did on his failed 2000 congressional campaign.

Sawyer's war chest: In comparison, Sawyer has $120,902 in his campaign war chest. Sawyer is considering a run in the 17th District as well as a number of other races.

During the latter half of 2001, Sawyer took in $27,305 from political action committees, and $3,070 from individuals.

State Rep. Anthony Latell Jr., a Girard Democrat who is running in the 17th District, has not yet opened a federal campaign fund.

The new 17th Congressional District will include Trumbull County, the northeastern portion of Mahoning County, most of Portage County and a portion of Summit County.

Strickland's fund: Hagan, Traficant and Latell can be consoled by the fact that the amount of cash Sawyer has in his congressional account pales in comparison to U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, a Lucasville Democrat who is running in the new 6th Congressional District. The new 12-county district will include Columbiana County and all but the northeast portion of Mahoning County.

Strickland has $577,611 in his federal campaign fund. During the second half of 2001, Strickland took in $208,471 and spent $34,678. Strickland got $189,545 from political committees.

Also, U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, a Madison Republican who will represent seven northern Trumbull County townships beginning next year under the state redistricting plan, has $340,227 in his campaign fund.

Tops them all: All of those congressional funds are small potatoes, though, in comparison to U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Lorain Democrat whose district currently includes western Trumbull County. Trumbull was removed from his new district beginning next year.

Brown took in $186,402 during the second half of 2001, including $78,011 from political committees. Brown has $1,637,014 in his campaign fund.

skolnick@vindy.com




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