Arizona Banking Commissioner Richard C. Houseworth's bid for a seat on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. got a big lift last week as three Republican senators backed his nomination.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and Arizona's two senators-John McCain and Jon Kyl - recommended that President Clinton appoint Mr. Houseworth to the five-member board.

The FDIC board has had a vacancy since Oct. 1, when Joseph H. Neely 2d resigned. Federal law requires a political balance on the agency's board, so the next appointee must be a Republican.

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Doyle C. Bartlett, chief of staff for Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., is joining the Smith-Free Group next week as senior vice president.

The lobbying firm-headed by former Comptroller of the Currency Jim Smith and former Carter administration official Jim Free-specializes in banking, entertainment, and intellectual property issues.

Mr. Bartlett handled all these issues for Rep. McCollum, a member of the Banking and Judiciary committees. John M. Ariale, an Orlando lawyer and former aide, started last week as Rep. McCollum's chief of staff.

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A recent "60 Minutes" segment titled "The Lobbyist" featured veteran banking advocate Kenneth A. Guenther.

"Even though every administration vows to send them packing, their influence and their numbers continue to grow," "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer reported. The number of registered lobbyists, he said, has doubled to 15,000 since 1992, when then-candidate Bill Clinton promised to reform campaign finance laws if he became president.

Mr. Guenther said political fund-raisers are rampant. "Money is the name of the game," he said. "You can organize your whole social life around fund-raisers."

"Breakfast, lunch, and dinner," said Alex Maroulis-Cronmiller, director of IBAA's political action committee, IBPAC.

Contributing $1,000 to a lawmaker's campaign "opens the door for one peck at the congressman or senator-but if you didn't give that $1,000, you wouldn't have that opportunity," Mr. Guenther said.

Filmed in November, the piece led the show's Feb. 28 broadcast. "I think it was very good exposure," Mr. Guenther said.

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