Joseph P. Kennedy II has denied a report in the Boston Herald, picked up by the wire services and The Washington Post, that over the past two years he and his wife, Sheila, earned between $335,000 and $835,000 in dividends and interest from firms doing business in South Africa.

Kennedy said that they actually made $88,000 but that nearly all the money is held in family trust funds over which they have no control. He said his personal income from the investments was $190.

Kennedy, 33, who last month announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the House seat of Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill (D-Mass.), who is retiring, said he and his wife sold the securities a year ago.

Kennedy, son of the late senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), said candidates are required to file forms with the Federal Election Commission showing asset range and income range.

"The Herald used the schedule for assets when it determined the amount of income in each of the categories mentioned in the story," he said. "Had the Herald used the proper schedule -- the one for income -- the figures would be far lower and far more accurate."

He also charged that the newspaper "used the high end of every asset range in the FEC report."