WASHINGTON -- While the Democrats attracted far more attention for soliciting big contributions from foreigners, they were vastly outspent by their Republican rivals during this year's federal election cycle, according to new reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The reports illustrate an ironic aspect of the Democratic National Committee's aggressive fund-raising efforts: While they plunged the DNC into a furor over questionable contributions, they still were not enough to overcome the GOP's formidable financial advantage in this year's presidential and congressional elections.
The Republican National Committee, in a 15,000-page document filed this week, reported spending some $20 million to benefit its party's candidates during the five-week period from Oct. 17 to Nov. 25, bringing its total disbursements for the year to $168 million.
That is nearly twice as much as the $87 million the DNC reported spending on candidates so far this year, of which $14 million was spent during the five weeks covered by the report.
A review of the DNC's post-election report, meanwhile, shows that much of the money flowing into the party's coffers in the late stages of the campaign came from labor unions, American Indian tribes that operate gambling casinos and health industry interests -- including some who opposed President Clinton's 1994 plan to overhaul the health care system.
The biggest DNC contributor in the period is the Revlon Group of New York, which contributed $100,000. That brought the cosmetic company's total DNC contributions for the year to $425,250, putting Revlon among several dozen big companies that contributed more than $300,000.
Both parties are certain to shatter their past spending records.
The latest report brings the RNC's total disbursements for the 1995-1996 cycle to about $226 million, more than double the $103 million it spent in 1991-1992, the last presidential election cycle. The DNC, which has spent a total $130 million in 1995-1996, spent only $82 million four years earlier.
Both parties also spent vast amounts of "soft money" -- contributions from corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals for "party-building" activities that ostensibly do not benefit any particular candidate.
The RNC said it spent $18 million in soft money in the five-week period covered by the report, bringing its total for the year to $89 million. The DNC reported about $12 million in soft money disbursements over the five weeks, for a yearlong total of about $71 million.
Pub Date: 12/07/96