President Clinton keeps hearing that small business dislikes his health-care package. So on July 19, he proclaimed the support of a group representing legions of small companies.
Some executives listed on the Small Business Coalition for Health Care Reform's roster, however, turn out to be opposed to the President's plan. One is even dead: Louis Slotnick of Chicago passed away 19 years ago, his family says. Another Chicago "member," Leona's Pizzeria co-owner Lawrence Suffredin, lobbies for the Illinois Restaurant Assn., a foe of Clinton-style employer mandates.
Audrey Mullen, a Virginia conservative activist, called the coalition seeking information to use against the Clintonites. Now, she's a member in good standing. She says she has since found dozens on the list who have never even heard of the group.
The coalition's organizers, notably the National Association of Retail Druggists, deny that they knowingly inflated their list. Of the 300-plus businesses listed, they say most were picked by members of Congress or such groups as the Health Care Reform Project. No comment from the White House.
CLINTON-PLAN BACKERS . . . NOT
Some listed members of pro-White House Small Business Coalition for Health Care Reform who don't belong on the roster:
ELSTON METAL, Chicago: Owner's father, listed as coalition member, has been
dead for 19 years
LEONA'S PIZZERIA, Chicago: Co-owned by lobbyist for the anti-Clinton-plan
Illinois Restaurant Assn.
FABRIC MAGIC, Murfreesboro, Tenn.: Owner opposes Clinton's employer mandate.
Believes friend signed it up