Out-of-staters give heavily to Mikulski 62% of large donations have outside origin.

May 19, 1992|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- More than 60 percent of the money from large contributions to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's re-election campaign is coming from outside Maryland, according to federal records.

Of the funds from donations larger than $200, $57,450 of $92,552 -- or 62 percent -- was contributed from other states for the first three months of this year, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

During 1991, 71 percent of her large-contribution funds -- $294,465 of $412,100 -- came from supporters beyond the state, according to FEC records.

The high percentage in outside donations reflects Ms. Mikulski's position as a "national leader" and the only Democratic woman in the Senate, says her spokesman John Steele.

But campaign reform groups say they are troubled when candidates fuel their campaigns with high amounts of non-constituent money. Moreover, the campaign finance measure that passed Congress with Ms. Mikulski's support encouraged smaller donations from within a candidate's state.

"We support a majority of fund-raising within their own district or in their own state," says Laura Kriv, field director with Congress Watch, a non-profit consumer research and lobbying group.

Ms. Mikulski also collected $186,731 in smaller donations, those under $200 between Jan. 1 and March 31 of this year. Candidates are not required to detail the amount or state of origin of aggregate contributions under $200 and Ms. Mikulski did not report to the FEC the sources of her smaller contributions.

Her campaign contends that, overall, 51 percent of her individual donations came from inside the state and 49 percent from outside.

The senator held a February fund-raiser with supporters in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to her campaign.

In December, dozens of donations came from lawyers and businessmen in Huntsville, Ala., the site of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Ms. Mikulski is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees NASA funding.

Ms. Mikulski's campaign raised $427,328 this year and had $1.3 million in cash reserves at the end of March, according to the records. She expects to raise $3 million in her quest for a second six-year term -- the same amount her Republican opponent, Alan L. Keyes, hopes to raise.

The campaign finance measure Ms. Mikulski supported -- and President Bush vetoed -- called for voluntary campaign spending limits.

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