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GOP CONVENTION '96

Wall Street Invests Heavily in Dole, Study Finds

Contributors: Research group finds candidate's biggest donors are traditional sources of GOP support. He's raised a total of $21.7 million.

August 11, 1996|ALAN C. MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Bob Dole's presidential campaign draws its greatest financial support from Wall Street securities firms, lawyers, agriculture and oil and gas interests--a veritable Who's Who of traditional Republican donors, according to an analysis of the candidate's campaign reports.

The financial sector was Dole's biggest overall backer, contributing at least $3.3 million of the $21.7 million that the Kansas Republican raised in contributions of $200 or more, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign funds. Lawyers and law firms gave $1.5 million.

The center's analysis, released on the eve of the Republican convention, was based on nearly 34,000 contributions reported to the Federal Election Commission from January 1995 to June 30 of this year. The group plans a similar assessment of President Clinton's fund-raising before the Democratic convention.

The center criticized the Dole campaign for not identifying the employer or occupation of about 30% of its large contributors. Federal law requires a campaign committee to request this information from donors who give more than $200 and, if it is not supplied, to follow up with a written request or phone call.

The Clinton campaign provided the information for 93% of its donors, according to Ellen Miller, the center's executive director.

Christina Martin, deputy press secretary for the Dole campaign, said the campaign is continuing "to make every good-faith effort." It is more difficult for a challenger to track the identity of donors than it is for a reelection campaign such as Clinton's, which has had four years to compile a donor database, she added.

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Dole's financial-sector money was divided among securities and investment firms, which accounted for $981,000; the real estate industry, $670,000; and insurance PACs and executives, $606,000. Other leading industries that made major donations were agriculture, $736,491; oil and gas, $541,840 and health professionals, $498,170.

The figures compiled for the study represent contributions from the companies' political action committees and executives, employees and their family members. Direct contributions by corporations to federal campaigns are prohibited.

Dole's largest single benefactor, Ernst & Young, gave his campaign $107,650. The accounting firm and its employees also gave about $135,000 to Clinton.

"Those companies and industries that interact with the government as a matter of business tend to try to keep one foot in both camps," Martin said.

Lawyers, while contributing heavily to Dole, also represent Clinton's major professional campaign backers. Clinton has vetoed legislation, opposed by trial attorneys, that would have limited some lawsuits.

Securities firms also have played both sides of the fence. The PACs and employees for 10 securities firms made Dole's top 50 contributors, led by PaineWebber with $57,340 and Goldman Sachs & Co. with $49,000. Goldman Sachs, the former firm of Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, is also one of Clinton's major backers.

Enron Corp., a large Houston natural gas company, and its employees gave the Dole campaign $72,250, making it the second-largest source of funds. Enron and its executives are also major donors to the Republican Party.

Third on Dole's list was Enterprise Rent-A-Car, whose employees contributed $65,500.

Dole's funds included substantial contributions from tobacco and gambling interests: $34,250 in donations from employees of U.S. Tobacco Co., the nation's leading smokeless tobacco producer; $40,000 from PACs and employees for Mirage Resorts; $31,050 from Treasure Island Casino and $19,500 from the Golden Nugget.

Tobacco companies are the largest donors to the Republican Party. They give generously to the Democratic Party as well, but at a much lower rate in recent years.

Dole said this spring that smoking was not necessarily addictive, prompting criticism.

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