WASHINGTON — Dozens of political action committees that contributed to Republican incumbents during seven of last year's Senate races gave money after the election to the Democratic winners, a Common Cause study showed Thursday.
Fred Wertheimer, president of Common Cause, said the study "vividly illustrates how special interest PAC contributions are used to buy influence in Congress."
Common Cause, a lobbying group that supports public financing of political campaigns, reported finding 150 instances in the seven races in which PACs switched sides to support winning Democrats after the election.
Giving to Both Sides
It is not unusual for PACs to contribute to both sides in a political contest, and money contributed after an election generally is used to pay bills that accumulated during the campaign.
Common Cause said it compared financial records in the pre-election period of Jan. 1, 1985, to Nov. 4, 1986, with records of Nov. 5 to Dec. 31, 1986, for the races in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington.
According to Common Cause:
--In Alabama, 31 PACs switched sides after first supporting incumbent Republican Sen. Jeremiah Denton before the election, then the winning challenger, Democrat Richard C. Shelby, afterward.
Bankers Group Switched
Among the PACs that switched were the American Bankers Assn., which contributed $10,000 to Denton, then gave Shelby $5,000 after the election; and Boeing Co., $7,800 to Denton and $3,000 to Shelby.
--In Florida, the five PACs that contributed to incumbent Republican Sen. Paula Hawkins prior to the election and to Democrat Bob Graham after he won included the National Assn. of Realtors, $10,000 to Hawkins and $5,000 to Graham.
--In Georgia, seven PACs contributed to Republican Sen. Mack Mattingly before the election and to Democrat Wyche Fowler Jr. afterward. Among them was the American Dental Assn., $10,000 to Mattingly and $5,000 to Fowler.
North Carolina Race
--In North Carolina, 30 PACs contributed to the campaign of Republican Sen. James T. Broyhill and then switched sides and gave to newly elected Democratic Sen. Terry Sanford. Those PACs included the American Hospital Assn., which first gave Broyhill $7,500 and later gave $5,000 to Sanford.
--In North Dakota, 39 PACs that contributed to the reelection campaign of Republican Sen. Mark Andrews switched sides and gave to the newly elected Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad after the election. Among the PACs that made the switch was the American Bankers Assn., which gave $10,000 to Andrews before the election and $10,000 to Conrad afterward.