Hoyer fined for late filing on donations Gifts shortly before election not revealed

February 17, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Steny H. Hoyer has agreed to pay a $15,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission for failing to report on time more than $140,000 in contributions his campaign received in the three weeks before the November 1994 election.

Mr. Hoyer's campaign did not notify the FEC of dozens of contributions of $1,000 or more within 48 hours of receiving the money during the 20 days before the election, as required by law, according to FEC files made public last week.

The law requiring the 48-hour notices is designed to allow the public to know how much money a campaign takes in during the final days before an election and the identity of the contributors.

But the Hoyer campaign did not file any of its 48-hour notices on time before the Nov. 8 election, and about half the required notices were not received by the FEC until after commissioners opened a review of the violations in May 1995, FEC documents show.

The late mailings were inadvertent, said Betsy Bossart, Mr. Hoyer's administrative assistant.

"We have a process in place to assure that those notices are filed," Ms. Bossart said. "We made a mistake; we were penalized. We don't believe there is anything more to it."

Mr. Hoyer, a Democrat, defeated his Republican challenger in Southern Maryland's 5th District, Donald J. Devine, by an 18 percent margin in 1994.

The filings would not have made a difference in the campaign, said Mr. Devine, now a senior adviser to Sen. Bob Dole's presidential campaign. "He had so much money. We just couldn't keep up with his onslaught of radio and television adds," Mr. Devine said.

In the final weeks of the race, Mr. Hoyer raised more than five times as much money as Mr. Devine. Between Oct. 20 and Nov. 4, 1994, Mr. Hoyer's campaign took in 87 contributions of $1,000 or more, for a total of $140,550. During the same period, Mr. Devine took in at least 22 contributions of $1,000 or more, totaling $24,950, according to 48-hour notices on file with the FEC.

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