As Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, began his quest for the presidential nomination in the cold winters of Iowa and New Hampshire, his treasurer set off on a pilgrimage to columbus, Ohio, for a little bit of the right stuff of American politics.
Strapped for cash, the Glenn campaign official journeyed to Bank One of Columbus to talk about a loan. The bank, which Sen. Glenn had used in past campaigns, quickly put together a $2 million credit in which three other Ohio institutions participated.
“That was in the middle of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary,” recalled William White, the treasurer for the Glenn campaign. Mr. White served as administrative assistant to the senator for eight years before that.
“The money went fast,” he said, adding that there “was a 21-day window there,” in which the money was being spent.
For Sen. Glenn, the money did not help. His campaign folded early, and Mr. White is now spending his days working out a plan to pay off the campaign debts.
“The loans have not been paid back,” Mr. White said in a telephone interview. “But we are in the process of doing fundraising to do that.”
The campaign is entitled to matching funds for the rest of the year, so the first $250 contributed from any single source (the maximum that can be contributed by an individual is $1,000) will be matched by the federal government.
Mr. White said the campaign committee is current on its loan payments. Without question, he added, the loans will be paid off.
The loan instrument, Mr. White said, is a demand note due in March 1985, but callable anytime between now and then.
Each of the four banks — Bank One, Huntington National Bank, and BancOhio National Bank, all of Columbus, and Ameritrust Co., Cleveland — loaned the campaign $500,000. The banks, Mr. White said, “have a security interest in everything we own.”
That includes some office furniture, matching funds that will come in, some receivables, and some investments, he said.
All told, Mr. White said, the assets backing the loans are ” worth less than $2 million.” He declined to be explicity about the value of the collateral.
For at least one of the banks that participated, the loan was one “we would just as soon not have made. We knew going into it that it was possible, if not probable, that one candidate might attack the loan,” said Michael M. Van buskirk, a spokeman for Banc One Corp., Bank One’s holding company.
“But the loan was safe and sound,” he said. “Each of us hired an outside counsel to review it. The political process is important to our system, so that even though we would just as soon not have made it, we felt we had no choice.”
As expected, the Mondale campaign attacked the loan during the campaign, suggesting that it was, in effect, a donation, Mr. Buskirk said. “No complaint was ever filed though,” he added.