Gop Convention Close To Funding Goal From Public And Private Donors, The Host Committee Has Pledges Of Almost $52 Million.

Posted: June 14, 2000

Manny, Moe and Jack - the Pep Boys - have joined the growing list of more than 200 local and national companies giving money, goods and services to help put on the Republican National Convention here this summer.

Wawa's $100,000-plus donation includes a 1 1/4-mile-long hoagie, which will wrap around City Hall and be served on July 31, the first day of the convention. The big sandwich is usually served up for the Fourth of July; the convenience-store chain is postponing it for the Republicans.

Pep Boys is giving $5,000 to the Philadelphia convention.

All together, private and government donors have come close to funding the $52 million it will take to host the GOP convention July 31 through Aug. 3.

"The bulk of our pure fund-raising efforts now is to convert requests for donations to pledges, and to convert pledges to cash," said David L. Cohen, cochairman of Philadelphia 2000, the nonprofit local group that is the convention's official host.

The elite groups of donors to Philadelphia 2000 are designated as "benefactors," ranging from 27 "bronze" ($100,000) contributors to 10 "platinum" donors of $1 million or more.

"We are thrilled with the broad and diverse support that the host committee's fund-raising efforts have received from every possible constituency in the Philadelphia region," said Cohen, a lawyer who was chief of staff to former Mayor Edward G. Rendell.

Local electric utility Peco Energy Co. and Illinois-based mobile phone maker Motorola each pitched in $1 million or more. PepsiCo, Safeguard Scientifics and US Airways each gave at least $500,000.

Private donations are expected to account for about half of the $52 million that the committee promised the GOP it would raise for the convention. But taxpayers are picking up a hefty share of that pledge.

The city of Philadelphia and state of Pennsylvania will contribute $7 million each and will pick up additional millions in services for the convention. New Jersey kicked in $3 million in economic development funds it controls through the Delaware River Port Authority.

The quest for private donations appears to be truly bipartisan..

One supporter of the GOP convention was a former Democratic fund-raiser. S. Harrison "Sonny" Dogole, 77, who died Dec. 11 in Florida, raised funds for former Gov. Robert P. Casey and former Mayors Frank L. Rizzo and Rendell.

Dogole gave $1,000 for the GOP convention months before he died.

Rendell's campaign treasurer, Eric Pisauro, and his wife, Patricia, a former deputy mayor, gave $1,000.

"Obviously with the involvement of people like David Cohen, it's a bipartisan effort," said Patricia Pisauro yesterday.

Many corporate donors to the convention, demonstrating their own brand of bipartisanship, are also giving to the Aug. 14-18 Democratic convention in Los Angeles. Some are sending executives to both.

"We are going to be at both conventions," said Bob DeFillippo, spokesman for Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Insurance Co. of America. "We think it important to be there because . . . there are a number of issues that will come up in Washington that will affect our industry and our customers."

Prudential is a $250,000 donor to Philadelphia 2000.

Gov. Ridge was an early donor, giving $5,000 from his campaign fund to the effort to attract the GOP to Philadelphia. Ridge also has raised funds.

"He has traveled all over the country visiting executives and major corporations to try to entice them to contribute to the host committee," said Leslie Gromis, who runs Ridge's political action committee.

Renee Amoore, an African-American woman who heads the GOP's New Majority Council and is close to both Ridge and presumed presidential nominee George W. Bush, said she has been fund-raising for the party and for the host committee as an example to other minority political activists.

"I have to do more than talk the talk," she said.

Amoore's two King of Prussia companies, Amoore Group Health Systems, which handles some contracts for the state of Pennsylvania, and 521 Management Inc., a lobbying and public relations firm, each contributed $10,000 in cash.

Like Prudential, many of the biggest donors to Philadelphia 2000 have legislative and regulatory issues pending in Washington and thus have a stake in which candidates are elected this fall.

AT&T, Bell Atlantic and Comcast are each giving more than $1 million; each has a keen interest in how the next administration and Congress decide to regulate everything from phones and cable television to the Internet and privacy rights.

US Airways gave at least $500,000. The Justice Department is reviewing antitrust implications of the proposed merger between US Airways - the dominant airline at the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh airports - and United Airlines, the world's largest carrier.

United gave $500,000 to the Los Angeles host committee for the Aug. 14-18 Democratic convention.

Antitrust policies are also of great interest to Microsoft Corp. as it appeals a federal judge's decision ordering the software giant split in two. The ruling last week came after a two-year fight with the Justice Department over whether Microsoft is a monopoly.

Microsoft says it is donating cash and software that could eventually total as much as $1 million in donations to each convention.

Josh Goldstein's e-mail address is jgoldstein@phillynews.com

GOP CONVENTION'S TOP SPONSORS PLATINUM BENEFACTORS - $1 MILLION AND UP

AT&T New York Telecommunications

Ballard Spahr et al Philadelphia Lawyers

Bell Atlantic New York Telecommunications

City of Philadelphia Government

Comcast Corp. Philadelphia Cable Television

Commonwealth of Pa. Government

Del. River Port Authority Government agency

General MotorsDetroitAutomaker

Motorola Inc. Schaumburg, Ill. Electronics Mfgr.

Peco Energy Co. Philadelphia Electric Utility

GOLD BENEFACTORS - $500,000 AND UP

American Intl Group New York Insurance

Andersen Consulting Chicago, Ill. Business consulting

Blank Rome et al Philadelphia Lawyers

PepsiCo Purchase, N.Y. Food and beverages

Safeguard Scientifics Inc. Wayne, Pa. Venture Capital

SAP America Inc. Newtown Sq., Pa. Business software

Tierney & Partners Philadelphia Public Relations

US Airways Group Inc. Arlington, Va. Airline

SILVER BENEFACTORS - $250,000 AND UP

Aramark Corp. Philadelphia Food & beverages

DaimlerChrysler Corp. Stuttgart, Germany Automaker

Enron Corp. Houston Natural gas, electricity

First Union Charlotte, N.C. Bank

Global Crossing Ltd. Bermuda Telecommunications

Hewlett-Packard Co. Palo Alto, Calif. Computer hardware

Microsoft Corp. Redmond, Wash. Computer software

Pa. Conv. Center Authority Convention center

Phila. Convention & Visitors Bureau Government agency

Philip Morris Companies New York Tobacco, food

Prudential Insurance Newark, N.J. Life insurance

SmithKline Beecham Philadelphia Pharmaceuticals

Sunoco Inc. Philadelphia Oil & Gas

Union Pacific Corp. Omaha, Neb. Railroads

Unisys Corp. Blue Bell, Pa. Computer software

USX Corp. Pittsburgh Steel, oil & gas

Source: Philadelphia 2000; sponsors

A longer list of donors to both party conventions is at http://GOP2000.philly.com

* Inquirer news researcher Frank Donahue contributed to this story.

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