American Airlines made public yesterday a list of 71 present and past members of Congress, including Gerald R. Frd and House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill, to whom it gave about $40,000 in illegal contributions between 1971 and 1973.
The money was drawn from a secret corporate fund that disbursed approximately $227,000, part of which was unlawful political payments, between 1964 and 1972, according to company documents.
Yestersay's settlement was the cultmination of a series of investigations of American Airlines. They began in August, 1973, when American voluntarily told the Watergate special prosecutor about a secret $55,000 cash contribution to the Nixon re-election campaign organization, the Committee for the Re-election of the President.
The individual contributions to congressmen revealed yesterday ranged from $50 to $600, and most of the money went to members of commitees that controlled transportation appropriations or legislation.
For example, House Commerce Committee Chairman Harley O. Stagners reportedly received $250, and John J. McFall, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, allegedly got a total of $500 between March 8, 1971, and April 23, 1972.
The list of recipients was among the documents revealed as part of a settlement filed yesterday by the Securities and Exchange Commision.
The SEC had required American Airlines to give details of the secret fund, which the SEC said had been carried on the company's books as "false and fictitious entries."
Without admitting or denying any of the findings in the SEC order, American submitted an offer of settlement that was accepted by the commission.
Among other things, American agreed to amend all reports filed with the SEC from 1964 through 1972.
The SEC said the company could not produce records for the disbursement of the $227,000 fund beyond the $55,000 given to CREEP and the political contributions revealed yesterday.
The contributions to senators, congressmen, and some state and local politicians, such as former Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, were arranged by Cyrus S. Collins, American's vice president for public affairs based in Washington, according to company documents.
The company said the contributions consisted "for the most part of small amounts of money used to purchase tickets to political dinners and receptions."
The money for these contributions came from insurance premium refunds and cash from a Mexican subsidiary that was periodically carried to the company's New York headquarters, the company reported.
Legislators listed by American as recipients generally said they did not recall getting the money.
"I haven't the foggiest idea what they're talking about," said Rep Morris K. (D-Ariz.) "I've never knowingly taken a campaign contribution from a corporation in my life."
However, Udall, who is listed as getting $100, said he would check further.
Transportation Secretary Brock Adams, who allegedly got $200 while a congressman from Washington, said in a statement: "If American Airlines broke the law by contributing money to my congressional election campaign, it did so without my knowledge or that of anyone connected with the campaign."
Rep. Staggers (D-W. Va.) said: "I don't recall them ever contributing to me. We usually sent most such contributions back."
Rep. McFall (D-Calif.) said between 1971 and 1973 committees formed to raise money for his campaign held wine and cheese parties, and he thought an American official attended them.
McFall noted that until April, 1972, the law did not require that the committee keep records of contributions. He said his own records show one contribution in 1971 from the American official, but he added: "I had no knowledge that these funds were from corporate sources."
In its filling with the SEC, American gave a detailed descriptions of how CREEP pressured the company into contributing.
The company first revealed this information to the Watergate prosecutor. It gave the same details to the Civil Aeronautics Board, and in October, 1973, following such disclosures, American was fined $5,000.
In settlement of a subsequent private lawsuit, American's former chairman, George A. Spater, who retired shortly after the CREEP contribution was revealed, agreed to pay the company $75,000 with interest over four years for his role in use of company funds for illegal contributions. Other American officers will pay the company a total of $50,000.
According to the records made public yesterday, Spater recalled meeting Nixon's lawyer, Herbert W. Kalmbach, at a Republican fund-raising dinner in March, 1971.
Spater recalled being invited to the dinner either by the late Gustave Levy or by Daniel Hofgren, both of the New York investment banking firm, Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Hofgren later arranged for Spater to have lunch with Kalmbach. Spater said that Hofgren told him that Kalmbach, who was also the attorney for United Airlines, was raising money for CREEP.
Spater recalled mention of a White House list of contributors, and "he believed that the list was described in such a way that suggested that non-inclusion could be adverse to a company's interest," according to the American Airlines report.
Kalmbach, who subsequently served six months in prison for Watergate-related crimes, was reportedly dissatisfied with Spater's promise of a $75,000 contribution.
The company, in its filings made public yesterday, said that Spater arranged for $100,000 to be drawn from Union Bank of Switzerland. The money was disguised on the company's books as a special commission on used aircraft sales to Middle East Airlines.
Subsequently, executives for American delivered a total of $75,000 in cash contributions to CREEP. Of that amount, $20,000 was allegedly contributed to CREEP personally by Sparter. The corporate contribution of $55,000 was returned to American in 1973 after Common Cause suedCREEP.