USA TODAY
February 4, 2000


Donors pick sides in N.Y. Senate race


BY Martha T. Moore and Kathy Kiely

NEW YORK --He has more money; she has more star power. She has the writers; he has the chefs.

Nearly 3,000 pages of financial disclosure forms show that the expensive and acrimonious Senate race between first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is attracting high-profile donors from across the USA.

Among those backing Democrat Clinton are an array of entertainers, authors and artists. Republican Giuliani's supporters include brokers, bankers, real estate developers and restaurateurs, all of whom have benefited from New York City's economic boom.

Both campaigns are on track to raise and spend record amounts of money for a Senate race: Giuliani raked in $11.5 million last year, and Clinton collected $8.1 million.

The biggest expenditure for both has been on direct-mail appeals for donations.

The first lady's financial backers run the gamut from lifestyle maven Martha Stewart to bad-boy rapper Sean "Puffy" Combs, who recently was indicted for possession of illegal guns. Wonder Woman and Murphy Brown are on board: Actresses Lynda Carter Altman and Candice Bergen each gave $1,000. Feminist Gloria Steinem gave $1,000.

So did former Miss America Phyllis George.

Clinton not only has the glitterati but the literati: William Styron, author of Sophie's Choice, and his wife, Rose, gave $3,000 between them. Jean Auel, author of Clan of the Cave Bear, gave $1,000.

Gail Sheehy, who wrote a not-very-flattering biography of the first lady, nonetheless gave $500 to the Clinton campaign. Tina Brown, editor of  Talk magazine, gave $1,000 to Clinton in September, a month after publishing an interview with Clinton in her magazine in which the first lady talked about her husband's infidelity.

Giuliani's list includes such blue-chip Republicans as banker David Rockefeller, former secretary of State Henry Kissinger, writer William F. Buckley and conservative newspaper publisher Richard Mellon Scaife.

He also got $1,000 from former New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka.

Also feeding his campaign fund were restaurateur Warner LeRoy and Sottha Khunn , the chef at Le Cirque 2000.

Designer Bill Blass gave Giuliani $2,000. But other designers haven't yet fashioned their political opinions: Oscar de la Renta gave $1,000 to each candidate.

Nicole Miller gave $1,000 to Clinton, $2,000 to Giuliani.

Ron Perelman of Revlon, which offered former White House intern Monica Lewinsky a job before the scandal that led to President Clinton's impeachment, gave $1,000 to Giuliani.

Walter Kaye, the businessman who helped Lewinsky get her internship at the White House, gave $2,000 to Clinton.

Clinton might be surprised to learn she received $1,000 from Kenneth Starr.

He is not the independent counsel who investigated her for five years and hauled her before a grand jury but a Park Avenue financial manager who "didn't agree with any of that," according to his wife, Marisa Starr.

Neither candidate has formally entered the race.

Clinton is set to make an announcement -- two months after her pledge to run -- on Sunday with President Clinton and daughter Chelsea by her side.

She then heads off on a four-day swing through upstate cities.

Giuliani hints he may skip the announcement and simply run. "The one time I announced, I lost," the mayor joked with reporters this week.

Both candidates are already advertising: Giuliani begins airing a TV ad Friday in upstate cities that touts the number of jobs created in New York City since he became mayor.

Clinton is running a radio ad seeking campaign volunteers.

Clinton, who has the backing of traditional Democratic constituencies such as labor, also is winning financial support from prominent gay rights activists.

Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Fund, gave $2,000; Virginia Apuzzo of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force gave $1,000.

Giuliani, a moderate Republican on social issues, took in $3,000 from the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP group, and $500 from the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition.

From political action committees sponsored by special interests, Giuliani raised more than $245,000, and Clinton took in nearly $220,000.

Both candidates also benefited from donations by their fellow politicians. Among Giuliani's contributors was former New York senator Al D'Amato, who in the past has battled with the mayor.

After the release of the Federal Election Commission documents, Giuliani's campaign promptly accused Clinton of not reimbursing the White House for trips to New York on military aircraft.

Clinton's campaign finance forms showed that her campaign reimbursed White House Airlift Operations a total of $33,963 for travel costs from Nov. 18 to Dec. 29.

But Giuliani campaign manager Bruce Teitelbaum estimated the average cost of one of the first lady's trips on military aircraft at $20,000.

"The issue is not the right to use the plane," Teitelbaum said. "The question we have today is, where is the rest of the money? It is absolutely impossible by any calculation that these 30 trips plus could have cost $34,000."

Clinton's supporters say the first lady must continue to use military planes for security reasons and is doing so at the recommendation of the Secret Service.

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