By M. Jane Taylor and Charles R. Wolpoff
WASHINGTON – Sen. Barbara Mikulski is not up for re-election until 1998, but that didn’t stop her from raising and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars last year for her campaign.
Mikulski, D-Md., raised $291,910 last year in contributions and other income, according to campaign finance records filed last week with the Federal Election Commission.
She spent $106,658 and closed the year with $436,649 in the bank.
Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., who is not up for re-election until the year 2000, lagged considerably behind.
He raised $36,592 in contributions and other income in 1995. At the close of the year, after spending $13,536, he had $27,453 in the bank.
Bill Toohey, Sarbanes’ spokesman, said the senator concentrates his fund raising in the last two years of the six- year election cycle. Sarbanes won re-election for his fourth term in 1994.
Rachel Kunzler, spokeswoman for Mikulski, said the senator is keeping to her own fund-raising schedule.
“Her schedule is her schedule and his schedule is his schedule. One’s not better than the other,” she said.
In 1995, most of Mikulski’s money – $210,440 – came from individuals, including actress Glenn Close, who gave $500. Less than $56,000 came from special interest groups, or political action committees.
Labor unions and health care associations were well represented among the groups giving money to Mikulski, who serves on the Senate Labor subcommittee on aging. Together, these groups donated more than $10,000 to Mikulski’s campaign last year.
When asked if these groups are trying to influence Mikulski’s votes on the committee, Kunzler said, “You’ll have to call those groups and ask them why they gave her money.”
In addition to raising money, Mikulski has also been spending it. She spent $106,658 in 1995.
She sometimes spent money in order to make more money, paying out more than $11,000 to fund-raising consultants during the last six months of 1995.
She also spent campaign money on Senate business. Two catered events, both at Caton Avenue Banquet in Baltimore, cost more than $1,500. These were meetings to make appointments to the Maryland military academies, Kunzler said.
“They’re coffee and tea types of things,” she said.
In addition, Mikulski spent $137 on “get well and sympathy flowers,” for prominent or public persons who were sick or died, Kunzler said.
Kelly Huff, an FEC spokeswoman, said campaign funds are allowed to be used for the official duties of a Senate member.
FEC documents say it is allowable to use campaign funds to send flowers to a constituent’s funeral. Mikulski was elected to the Senate in 1986. In 1992, when she was last up for re-election, she spent more than $1.04 million, according to the FEC. -30-