$236,000 Lockheed payment no big deal, Alexander says

March 30, 1995|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,Sun Staff Writer

Campaigning in Baltimore, Republican presidential candidate Lamar Alexander said yesterday that a controversial $236,000 payment to him from Lockheed Martin Corp. is no big deal.

The money -- part of an $82 million payout to outgoing officials of Martin Marietta, which has merged with Lockheed Corp. -- represents "my pay for being on the board," Mr. Alexander said.

"It is the amount of money that I would have been entitled to whether I stayed or whether I went," he said.

Mr. Alexander is leaving Martin Marietta's board this month because of the merger. Some union officials have called the payouts unjustified.

The former Tennessee governor was in Baltimore for a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner at Harbor Court Hotel, where he expected to raise $100,000. Speaking to reporters earlier yesterday, he attempted to focus on politics.

He said he wants Congress to reduce its pay and spend less time in Washington and more at home. He also said that Congress should cut congressional pensions, calling them "utterly indefensible."

Mr. Alexander said he already has raised more than $4 million for his presidential bid. Though he is regarded by many as a long shot, he predicted he will raise the $20 million seen as necessary for a serious GOP contender.

"I am encouraged by the fund-raising so far," Mr. Alexander said. "It's going very well."

Baltimore was Mr. Alexander's 14th stop on a 25-city swing. He will be in Chattanooga, Tenn., today.

Other announced Republican candidates include Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas and conservative columnist Pat Buchanan.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter is expected to announce tomorrow, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole next week. Maryland talk show host Alan L. Keyes announced his candidacy Sunday.

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