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Republicans' Big Donors Gather In Florida

Democratic troubles have 'a chilling effect' on fund-raising, says Barbour.

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PALM BEACH, Fla. (AllPolitics, Feb. 20) -- The Democrats may be ensnarled in multiple investigations into their campaign fund-raising, but that hasn't stopped members of "Team 100," the Republicans' group for well-heeled donors, from gathering at the luxurious Breakers resort here.

Since Wednesday, GOP contributors have been in closed-door sessions with such party luminaries as Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.), with the conference scheduled to wrap up tomorrow.

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The Democrats' troubles have made it more difficult to raise money, though, says former party chairman Haley Barbour.

"Adverse publicity does have a chilling effect on any activity when the press writes repeatedly that it's wrong to participate in the political process," said Barbour.

Team 100 donors are the biggest of the Republican Party's contributors. To join, a person must give $100,000 and then maintain his or her membership by donating at least $25,000 a year in the following three years.

One reason for the Palm Beach gathering is to try to erase some of the $10 million debt the GOP racked up in 1996. Both parties borrowed money for last year's campaign.


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