People say the quality of Senate oratory isn't what it used to be, but you'd never know it from the honorariums senators earn from making speeches before private groups.
Last year, according to Senate records, senators earned more than $1 million in outside fees for speeches before such groups as the Arkansas Bankers Association, United Jewish Appeal, Recreation Vehicle Association, Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and the National Forest products Association.
Sen. Jake Garn (R-Utah) isn't usually classified as one of the ornaments of Senate oratory, but his speechmaking was enough to get him an extra $25,000, mostly from bankers groups. That tied him for first place with Donald W. Riegle Jr. (D-Mich.). Twenty-one other colleagues got more than $20,000, and 18 others received $10,000 or more.
Senators have often been criticized for taking fees for speeches, on grounds that the money may be little more than a "good-will" payment from a lobbying group or other organization that wants something from Congress. For that reason, Congress had placed a $25,000 limit on the amount a senator may earn from speeches and articles. Last year a new Senate approved a new ethics code that will lower the limit to $8,625 as of next Jan. 1.
The fees and honorariums are in addition to a senator's annual salary of $57,500.
The records show that in many cases senators got much of their fees from speeches to groups whose business is within the jurisdiction of a committee on which they sit. Garn, for example, is a member of the Senate Banking Committee.
Herman E. Talmadge (D-Ga.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and chairman of the Finance subcommittee on health, got fees of $1,000 or more in 1977 from such groups as the Southeastern poultry and Egg Association, Dairymen INc., the Farm and Industrial Equipment Institute and the American Medical Association and Health Industry Manufacturers.
Jennings Randolph (D-W.Va.), who heads the committee with jurisdiction over roadbuilding and environment problems, got honorarium from the National Forest Products Association, West Virginia Surface Mining Association, Associated General Contractors and Garden State Paper.
Here is a list of senators reporting the highest fee totals:
Garn, $25,000;Riegle, $25,000;Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), $24.945; Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.). $24.900; Harrison A. Williams Jr. (D-N.J.). $24.750; Talmadge, $24,700; Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.), $24.662; John C. Culver (D-Iowa), $24.600; Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), $24.400; Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass.), $24.250; Bob Dole (R-Kan.). $24.209; Randolph, $24.180; Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y., $23.900; Frank Church (D-Idaho). $23.850; Robert W. Packwood (R-Ore.), $23.850; John G. Tower (R-Tex.), $23.750; Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), $23.718; George McGovern (D-S.D.), $23.647; Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), $23.100; Josehp Biden Jr. (D-Del.), $22.596; S. I. Hayakawa (R-Calif.), $21.979; Abraham A. Ribicoff (D-Conn.). $20.500; and Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), $20.000.
The totals for 1977 do not include reports for three senators who died - Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.), John L. McClellan (D-Ark.) and Lee Metcalf (D-Mont.) - or their successors, none of whom was required to file: or for Robert Morgan (D-N.C.), who missed the filing deadline. CAPTION: Picture, SEN. JAKE GARN . . . his $25,000 ties for first place