We Got Two Words for the FEC . . .
Instead of wrestling, Jockbeat got a taste of politics at last Monday night’s taping of the WWF’s Raw Is War at the Garden. And while no city can top homemade Big Apple signage (“HHH [Hunter Hearst Helmsley] Fears His Mother,” “Stephanie [McMahon] Swallows,” “X-Pac Is My Bitch,” “Chad Is Fat!”), the issue of the day was not First Amendment rights. (We’ll leave that to Nat Hentoff.) Of all things, it was federal election law.
Jockbeat had made the mistake of sitting too close to the show’s pyrotechnics display and, instead of watching some of the early matches, took refuge by a first-floor hot-dog stand. Nearby, behind a bunting-lined table, was three-time WWF champion Bob Backlund, currently running for the House seat in Connecticut’s 1st District and busy hawking T-shirts and photographs.
According to his January filing with the Federal Election Commission, Backlund has only raised $38,874 for his campaign, with over 90 percent of the money coming from unitemized donations. (T-shirts and photos, both of which Backlund sells for $10 apiece, account for most of these contributions.) It’s interesting to note that the candidate has spent over $10,000 on shirts since September when one considers that a contributor paying $10 for a shirt that cost the candidate $4 is still counted, for FEC purposes, as having contributed $10. Even more interesting is the candidate’s handling of cash.
Revisiting Backlund’s campaign stand after The Rock was wrongly interfered by Shane McMahon during his Triple Match against HHH and Big Show, Jockbeat witnessed at least one FEC violation. Perched behind his crude “Backlund for Congress” banner and yelling at drunk wrestling fans trying to make their way to the staircases, the candidate made most transactions in cash, never handing out receipts and only asking for names when it meant personalizing photos. Uh-oh! According to FEC law 110.4(c)(3), an anonymous contribution of currency is limited to $50. Someone, however, forgot to tell Backlund, whose salesmanship ability (he seemed able to convince many a passerby that they just had to have three or four T-shirts and two or three photos) was as baffling as his business cards, which state, “I will increase my ability to READ.” Jockbeat recommends he take a look at “Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees,” available on the FEC’s Web site—before the feds smack him down.
The Clyde and Wiggy Show
Verbatim from MSG’s broadcast of the Knicks-Hawks contest last Friday night:
Walt Frazier: Motumbo, wheeling and dealing at will now.
Al Trautwig: You know, Clyde, Dikembe’s raised millions of dollars for a children’s hospital in Africa.
Frazier: Right, in the Congo, formerly Za-ire [enounced with relish]. He’s also put up over 2 million of his own money.
Trautwig: And here’s a guy who used to work all day at the fruit market for a dollar. Today he makes over a thousand a minute.
Frazier: Yeah, that’s in your range, Al, except you don’t come up with nothing. Zilch.
Trautwig: Hey Clyde, what is this? You’re killin’ me tonight.
Frazier: If I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t even be talking to you.
The Mike Wise B-ball Dixiecrat Watch
The New York Times national basketball scribe was at it again this past weekend, doing his darndest to send the game back to its two-handed set-shot days and stave off the inevitable takeover of the NBA by tattooed New Jack ballplayers. On Sunday, Wise penned an extended appreciation of the Utah Jazz’s old-old-school ways and their just plain old ballplayers. On Monday, after that elderly Utah team took out a slumping Knicks squad, Wise wrote a column in praise of Rogaine spokesman Karl Malone. The columnist even apologized for the power forward’s paranoid intolerance of playing with an HIV-positive Magic Johnson in 1992, opining that it was “refreshing to see someone say what he feels, irrespective of the consequences.” Jockbeat wonders just how “refreshing” Wise finds John Rocker‘s view of the world.
Contributors: Howard Z. Unger, John Stravinsky, Ramona Debs
Sports Editor: Miles D. Seligman