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Defense Firms Were Key Donors to Harman Races

Politics: Gubernatorial candidate says she backed industry in Congress to protect jobs in South Bay.

May 11, 1998|PAUL JACOBS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Another company to benefit from that decision is Loral Space & Communications. Loral's chairman and chief executive officer, Bernard L. Schwartz, is one of several Harman supporters co-chairing a $2,500-a-person fund-raiser for her gubernatorial campaign this month in New York.

Unlike federal campaigns, there are no limits on individual or corporate contributions in state races.

Harman said Schwartz has been a family friend for two decades.

As reported earlier, a federal grand jury has been investigating allegations that Loral and Hughes provided technical information to the Chinese that could improve the reliability of China's long-range missiles. The probe centers on a technical report that the American companies provided after the 1996 explosion of a Long March missile carrying a Loral satellite. Both companies deny violating restrictions on technology transfer to China.

Harman acknowledged that Loral has benefited from her support for the aerospace industry. "But to my knowledge, I have never made a particular, focused effort to help Loral on any specific project," she said.

Harman also received $454,000 from union political action committees for her congressional campaigns, most it from unions representing defense and aerospace plants in her district.

"She has always supported the interest of that industry, which bottom line means jobs for our people," said Bruce Lee, the former regional director for the United Auto Workers, which represents about 20,000 aerospace workers in her district.

In Congress, Harman stood by labor in voting against the North American Free Trade Agreement, despite appeals from President Clinton and from her own defense industry contributors.

Harman said she has received less union backing than others in Congress and has not won labor support in her gubernatorial bid.

"I have voted my conscience," she said. "I made independent . . . decisions for six years, and I have taken knocks for not fitting in any little slot."

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Times researchers Janet Lundblad and Paul Singleton contributed to this story.

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The Contributors

Between 1991 and 1997, Rep. Jane Harman collected more than $4 million to fund three successful races for Congress. Here are some of her top contributors, many from the defense and aerospace industries.

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Loral Space & Communications

$93,350

Headed by Harman friend Bernard Schwartz; benefited from Harman support for Chinese satellite launches.

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Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue

$89,650

Harman worked at this lawn firm; one client is Harman International Industry, chaired by her husband.

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Norhtrop Grumman

$77,999

Harman is backer of B-2 bomber and F/A-18 fighters.

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Hughes Aircraft

$70,650

Satellite maker, Harman pushed Chinese satellite launches.

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McDonnell Douglas

$50,200

Produces the C-17 cargo plane, championed by Harman.

*

TRW Inc.

$40,500

Aerospace and defense company; close ties to Harman and her husband.

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Walt Disney Co.

$33,750

International entertainment company with many issues before Congress.

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Human Rights Campaign Fund

$30,000

Organization backs gay and lesbian rights; Harman defends rights of gays in the military.

*

United Auto Workers

$30,000

Union represents 20,000 workers in aerospace and defense in Harman's district.

*

Hollywood Women's Political Committee

$22,000

Group dissolved in 1997; was a backer of liberal causes and candidates

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Women's Alliance for Israel

$16,500

Promotes U.S.-Israeli ties, as does Harman

Where the Money Comes From

The following is a breakdown of all contributions.

Personal (Jane and Sidney Harman): $799,000

Professional (lawyers, accountants, etc.): $538,862

Unions: $453,672

Defense / aerospace: $440, 884

Ideological (feminists, pro-Israel, etc.): $270,421

Financial (banks, brokerages): $219,100

Entertainment: $170,000

Manufacturing: $163,300

Health care: $124,544

All other: $1,164,204

Source: Campaign Study Group based on Federal Election Commission records

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