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Eight House Members Seeking Senate Seats Wrote Overdrafts on House Bank

April 17, 1992

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Five of the eight House Democrats running for seats in the Senate have a new campaign worry - they wrote 419 overdrafts on their House bank accounts. The three House Republicans seeking Senate seats had 31 overdrafts.

″The question I guess here is how to tell voters that even though you habitually have overdrawn your account that you can handle the nation’s accounts,″ said Larry Neal, spokesman for the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

″That’s going to be a hard sell for people who have a long record of kiting checks.″

Rep. Barbara Boxer of California led the Democratic Senate candidates with 143 overdrafts in the 39 months ended Oct. 3.

Reps. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota had 98, Wayne Owens of Utah wrote 87, Les AuCoin of Oregon had 83 and Richard H. Stallings of Idaho wrote 8.

On the Republican side, Reps. Bill Dannemeyer of California wrote 26 overdrafts, Tom Campbell of California had four and Rod Chandler of Washington had one.

Three Democratic Senate candidates had none: Reps. Jim Moody of Wisconsin, Mel Levine of California and Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado.

The House ethics committee on Thursday released names of 303 present and past members who wrote at least one overdraft during the 39-month period. On April 1, the committee separately identified 22 ″abusers″ who repeatedly overdrew their accounts at the House bank by significant amounts.

Harry Lonsdale, who is AuCoin’s chief opponent in the Democratic primary race for the Senate, quickly used the list to attack AuCoin.

″Sloppy personal finances do not speak well for someone who wants to be a United States senator,″ said Lonsdale spokeswoman Kathy McShea. The issue is ″alive and well, and you can bet we’ll be continuing to raise it in as many forums as possible,″ she said.

Mary Beth Cahill, AuCoin’s campaign manager, countered that ″Les has been completely open at every turn, and he has apologized for his lack of attention to his bookkeeping.

″I think the people are smarter than to have this be what the election turns on.″

Levine has a television ad that mentions he had no overdrafts, but asks voters to support him because he offers new leadership.

Rep. Robert Mrazek, D-N.Y., dropped out of his state’s Senate race after he was named an ″abuser″ of his banking privileges with 920 overdrafts - the most among current members.

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