A tabulating error in a Dec. 26 story resulted in a $274,490 overstatement of the election contributions received by Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton (D--Mo.) from political action committees in the period Jan. 1, 1979, through Nov. 24, 1980. The correct PAC total, $384,491, was 30 percent of his receipts.
Election contributions of at least $1 million were made to each of 27 Senate candidates, a record number, a Washington Post study of near-final data shows. Sixteen were winners last month.
The leader, Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston, who was reelected from California, the most populous state, got $3,053,939.
The combined total for the 27 was $45.4 million, of $6 million more than the final receipts for all of 1976's 33 races. One-fifth -- $9.3 million -- came from political action committees, compared with 15 percent for the 33 Senate contests in 1976 and 13 percent for the 35 races in 1978.
But PACs, playing their biggest role in history, accounted for much higher proportions of the contributions received by others among many of the 71 candidates who survived primary and runoff races to compete in last month's general election.
Republican Mark Andrews of North Dakota got 58 percent of his $402,615 in contributions from PACs. One Democratic incumbent, Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri, got 52 percent of his $1,263,391 from such committees, and another, John A. Durkin of New Hampshire, got 50 percent of his $656,795 from PACs. Andrews was elected, Eagleton reelected, and Durkin defeated.
Ten others got between one-third and one-half of their contributions from PACs, while some got little from them. Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) handily won reelection with PACs accounting for a mere $6,125 of his $1,102,378 in contributions.
In dollar receipts from PACs --whether sponsored by corporations, trade associations, unions, or others -- the top 10 averaged $558,000 each.
The leader was Sen.-elect Charles E. Grassley, a GOP congressman from Iowa. PACs gave him $735,867, or 39 percent of his total contributions. Next came Eagleton, with $658,881, and three other GOP House members who won election to the Senate: James Abdnor of South Dakota, $654,879 (33 percent); Steven D. Symms of Idaho, $651,590 (37 percent), and Dan Quayle of Indiana, $631,063 (30 percent).
The remaining members of the top 10, all incumbent Democrats: Herman E. Talmadge (Ga.), $521,969 (27 percent); Brich Bayh (Ind.), $452,193 (18 percent); Russell B. Long (La.), $440,110 (22 percent); Gaylord Nelson (Wis.), $421,407, and Warren G. Magnuson (Wash.), $414,265 (37 percent). All but Long were defeated.
Cranston just missed the top 10, getting $413,855 (less than 14 percent) of his contributions from PACs. The $3 million he received fell far short of the record. In 1978, when the $1 million mark was topped by 20 Senate candidates, seven fewer than in 1980, the final official tally of receipts of all kinds, including loans, showed that $7.4 million had flowed into the treasury of Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). Sen. John G. Tower (R-Tex.) got $4.26 million, and Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) got $2.9 million. All won.
Another key finding emerged from The Post's unofficial tallies of filings by Senate candidates with the Federal Election Commission for three basic reporting periods. The first period -- the "warmup" -- began Jan. 1, 1979, and ended Sept. 30, 1980. The second, ended Oct. 15, was the last for which candidates had to account before the general election. The third ran from Oct. 15 through Nov. 24, or 20 days after the election. A closing report through year's end is due Jan. 31.
The finding was that PACs, after accounting for a relatively small share of the contributions received by many Senate candidates in the 21-month warmup, gave to them heavily in the time remaining before the election and also in the three weeks afterward. The late contributions often got minimal disclosure if any.
In North Dakota, the GOP's Andrews increased his reliance on PAC contributions from an already towering 68 percent on the 21-month warmup period to 74 percent on the first two weeks of October. The comparable ratios for reelected Sen. Wendell H. Ford (D-Ky.) were 35 percent and 68 percent, for Sen.-elect Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska) 25 percent and 51 percent, for Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.) 10 percent and 47 percent, for Sen.-elect Jeremiah Denton (R-Ala.) 7 percent and 35 percent, for Sen.-elect Paula Hawkins (R-Fla.) 9 percent and 43 percent, and for Eagleton, 27 percent and 55 percent.
For Sen.-elect Don Nickles (R-Okla.), the proportion of PAC contributions to the total in the first half of October was 7.3 times higher than in the 21-month period ended Sept. 30 (in the period Oct. 16 through Nov. 24, it was 9.5 times higher). For Sen.-elect Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.) it was 5.4 times.
In Washington State, PACs gave Republican Slade Gorton only 28 percent ($114,806) of what they gave Magnuson, the veteran Democrat he narrowly beat. But in the post-warmup period, when Magnuson got only 29 percent of his PAC funding, Gorton, increasingly perceived as a possible winner, got 58 percent.
In Louisiana, Long, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which deals with such important matters as taxation and health care, got 21 percent of his contributions from PACs in the warmup period -- the period in which, under the laws of his state, he was elected on Sept. 13.
Yet in the two-week period starting 17 days after his election, Long got an additional $18,650 from PACs. That was 36 percent of all of his contributions Oct. 1 through 15, as compared with 21 percent on the preceding 21 months. Between Oct. 16 and Nov. 24, PACs gave Long an additional $14,260, accounting for 40 percent of the contributions he received in that pre- and post-election period.
Although Long won reelection, he is losing the chairmanship of Senate Finance -- because the election gave control of the Senate to the GOP -- to the panel's senior Republican, Bob Dole of Kansas.
Dole is one of the 1980 candidates who got post-election contributions from PACs. According to his filings with the election commission, 24 PAC's contributed a combined total of $8,000 starting Nov. 4 and ending Nov. 24. His aggregate PAC contributions came to $412,025, or 32 percent of the total since Jan, 1, 1979. In the first half of October, however, the PAC share rose to 45 percent.
Several PACs hedged their bets on the chairmanship of Senate Finance by contributing generously to both Long and Dole. For example, the unit sponsored by American Family Corp., the leading seller of controversial cancer insurance, gave Long $5,500 and Dole $9,500. Among the sponsors of other PACs giving to the two senior legislators were:
Winn-Dixie Stores, the fifth-largest grocery chain, Long $5,000, Dole $3,000; Standard Oil of Indiana (Amoco), Long $1,000, Dole $3,000; Associated Milk Producers, Inc., the largest dairy cooperative, Long $5,000, Dole $11,000; American Medical Association, Long $4,750, Dole $7,000; National Association of Realtors, Long $5,000, Dole $10,000, and National Association of Life Underwriters, Long $5,000, Dole $7,575.
In addition to Cranston, those listing contributions of at least $1 million each, with losers designated by an asterisk (*), were: Alan J. Dixon, (D-Ill.) $2,343,273; Bayh*, $2,042,216; Quayle, $2,134,580; Long, $2,003,523; Elizabeth Holtzman* (D-N.Y.), $1,992,711; Talmadge*, $1,965,263; Sen. Frank Church* (D-Idaho), $1,900,220; Sen. George McGovern* (D-S.D.), $1,885,443; Grassley, $1,870,028; Abdnor, $1,766,737; Symms, $1,771,349; Sen. John C. Culver* (D-Iowa), $1,762,794; James Buckley* (R-Conn.), $1,644,359; Bill Schulz* (D-Ariz.), $1,600,316.
Also, D'Amato, $1,607,923; Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), $1,519,485; Christoper J. Dodd (D-Conn.), $1,371,824; Dole, $1,292,485; Eagleton, $1,263,391; John P. East (R-N.C.), $1,206,656; Laxalt, $1,186,868; David O'Neal* (R-Ill.), $1,196,351; Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.), $1,168,229; Gene McNary* (R-Mo.), $1,165,753; Magnuson*, $1,121,019; and Glenn, $1,102,378.
In many cases such sums understate the reality, partly because of large so-called "independent expenditures" made for -- or against -- candidates by groups unconnected to them. To defeat Democratic incumbents such as Culver, McGovern, Nelson and Church, conservative and pro-gun organizations, in particular, spend large amounts in both "negative" outlays against them and in positive spending for their challengers.