Special interest groups boost Carson's coffers

Tuesday, October 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Brad Carson's bid for Congress received a lift in October from sources he once challenged other candidates to avoid _ special interest groups.

The latest campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show the 2nd District Democrat raised $200,815 in the first 18 days of October. Half of that came from special interest political action committees.

Contributions to Carson's campaign came from labor unions, trial lawyers and Democratic incumbents in Washington, D.C., records show.

Campaign finance reform has been an issue in the 2nd District race. And Carson said Tuesday that in an ``ideal world'' he would prefer not to accept PAC money, relying instead on individual donors.

He had challenged his opponents to stay away from special interest money, and said he would do the same. But the Claremore attorney said that because his opponents did not do that, he kept and accepted PAC funds.

``PACs are not the fundamental problem with our system,'' Carson said. ``The problem is there's an insatiable demand for cash by too many candidates. You spend far too much time trying to raise money for campaign ads.''

The $101,250 in PAC contributions to Carson's campaign exceeded Republican nominee Andy Ewing's total contributions for the period.

Ewing raised $100,674 in total contributions with $48,000 coming from PACs, including business interests such as accounting and energy firms. He also received donations from Republican incumbents in Washington, D.C.

The race to succeed Rep. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who is stepping down from the eastern Oklahoma post after three terms, has become a million dollar contest.

The latest FEC reports show that Carson has raised $598,000 this year, followed by Ewing with a total of $524,000.

The figures do not reflect spending by third-party organizations, including national Democratic and Republican parties.

With just a week to go before the Nov. 7 vote, Carson said the candidates' ability to address issues have more power than how much money they're spending.

``Both campaigns and the national parties have spent a lot of money in this race,'' he said. ``I think it's not the quantity of the message you get out, by buying TV time, but the quality of message you get out.''