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Industry Also Cast Election "Ballots"

Between Jan. 1, 1999 and Oct. 1 of this year, the securities and investment industries together made $57.8 million in political contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan, non-profit research group in Washington, D.C.

That is a 60 percent increase from the $36.1 million in political contributions the securities industry made during the 1997/1998 election season and still well ahead of the $43.8 million raised during the two-year period leading up to the last Presidential election in 1996.

Two of the ten companies in all sectors making the largest political contributions to candidates this year are familiar names within the securities industry. Citigroup of New York contributed $3.1 million to national candidates waging campaigns this year. The contributions were almost evenly split between Democratic and Republican candidates. Goldman Sachs Group, also of New York contributed $2.7 million, almost three-quarters of that going to Democratic candidates.

Also among the largest company contributors were Merrill Lynch of New York with $1.9 million, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. of New York with $1.5 million, and both AXA Financial of New York and Bank of America of Charlotte, N.C., with $1.3 million each in political donations.

The Investment Company Institute of Washington, D.C., the industry trade organization, as well as several fund advisers contributed through their own political action committees or individual contributions.

Each year, the ICI's political action committee - the Investment Management Political Action Committee of the Investment Company Institute - sends a letter to its members soliciting participation in a variety of political initiatives, said John Collins, spokesperson for the ICI. In the most recent election period, the ICI's political action committee raised $413,000 from among industry donors. Donations are then customarily made to the two political parties' candidates in direct proportion to the composition of Congress, Collins said.

Through Oct. 1, the ICI's political action committee had donated $385,390, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The political action committee's largest contribution, of $8,996, went to the campaign of incumbent Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) Many funds are incorporated in Maryland.

A $7,000 donation was also made to the re-election campaign of Sen. William Roth, Jr., (R.-Del.) Many mutual funds are also incorporated in Delaware. Roth is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and helped bring about the enactment of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 which in 1998 facilitated the creation of the Roth IRA. (Roth was defeated in his reelection bid.)

AIM Management Group of Houston donated $11,5000, allocated among 21 candidates in both the House and the Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. AIM's contributions were split almost equally between political parties, with 57 percent of the donations going to Republicans and 43 percent going to Democrats. AIM's largest political contribution, of $3,000, was made to House candidate Ken Bentsen (D-Tx.) A $2,000 donation was also made to the campaign of Sen. Roth.

American Century Investments of Kansas City, Mo. contributed a total of $19,500 split between 16 candidates, predominantly Republicans, running for Congress. Sen. Roth received $1,000 while Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) received $7,500.

As of Oct. 1, Federated Investors of Pittsburgh had donated only a fraction of the $112,500 its political action committee had raised. The Federated Investors Financial Services Political Committee had donated $27,000 to 19 candidates for Congress, including six House candidates and one Senate candidate, all from Pennsylvania. Democratic candidates received the largest share of donations.

Fidelity Investments of Boston had raised $111,931 but had only donated $81,500, spread among 27 different House candidates and 17 Senate candidates. Its political action committee made a $9,500 donation to Sen. Roth's campaign, and a $4,500 contribution to the House campaign of Michael Capuano (D-Mass.)