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Senate hopeful McGavick feeds his coffers in D.C.
Seattle Times Washington bureau
WASHINGTON — You could get fat following Mike McGavick around in D.C.
McGavick, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, blew into town this week for the second time in a month and raced from one meal to the next. In doing so, he fattened his campaign fund.
Breakfast with the Sen. Chuck Grassley and Clark Consulting, a high-powered firm that lobbies Congress on corporate taxes.
Lunch with the National Mining Association, an old ally of McGavick's ex-boss, former GOP Sen. Slade Gorton.
Dinner with the Financial Services Roundtable, a group of investment and insurance CEOs who were among the first to back President Bush's proposal to privatize part of Social Security.
Dinner and lunch invitees donated $1,000 each to the McGavick campaign.
"Taking a few days to visit the other Washington is a routine activity for any campaign for Senate," said McGavick spokesman Elliott Bundy. "The trips are a small piece of the overall fundraising puzzle."
Bundy also noted that McGavick has many friends in D.C. from his days working for Gorton and as CEO of Safeco, the Seattle-based insurance company.
Like Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, his opponent, McGavick doesn't talk about the guest lists at these campaign soirees.
Last month, the Financial Services Roundtable, an association of about 100 CEOs, held a private breakfast for him in its Pennsylvania Avenue offices. The attendees included representatives from USAA and Allstate insurance companies; the Fidelity, Chubb, Wachovia and Schwab investment firms; and Washington Mutual.
This three-day trip could raise more than $50,000. It also raised McGavick's campaign profile.
By Capitol standards, McGavick scored a coup in having Grassley, R-Iowa, sponsor the Clark Consulting firm breakfast. It signals to potential donors that if elected, McGavick will have access to the most powerful tax writer in Congress.
Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is also one of the top recipients of banking and Wall Street largesse. His imprimatur may encourage the investment community to extend their generosity to McGavick.
"We are grateful for their support," Bundy said of the various donors. "But we are prouder that the great majority of our financial support comes from within Washington state."
Much of Cantwell's funding is out-of-state money.
Meanwhile, other senators and contributors toasted McGavick at a lunch Thursday with the National Mining Association. The miners' headquarters is across the hall from the office of McGavick campaign strategist Tony Williams. Another former Gorton staffer, Williams is now a lobbyist for several Northwest companies and local governments.
In 1999, the Mining Association urged Gorton to slip in legislation that would have let a Texas firm build an open-pit gold mine in Okanogan County.
State health and environmental experts eventually blocked the deal, concerned that the mining operation might leach cyanide into local streams. It became an issue in Gorton's losing race against Cantwell in 2000.
Alicia Mundy: 202-662-7457 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company