Documents brought to the United States by deposed Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos indicate that $50,000 was contributed to the 1980 election campaigns of both Ronald Reagan and then-President Jimmy Carter, according to congressional sources who saw the documents last night.
The records also indicate that a $10,000 campaign contribution was made to Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), according to sources familiar with the document. Cranston said last night he knew of no Philippine contributions to his campaign.
The one-page record of campaign contributions has been referred to the Justice Department's criminal division for further investigation. Several sources said the document, described as a "balance sheet," indicates that contributions were made to an unspecified number of candidates in state and local elections, predominately on the West Coast.
The documents, which were released by the U.S. government yesterday to congressional and Philippine investigators, also show that the bulk of Marcos' money is held in Swiss bank accounts, according to Jovita Salonga, chairman of the Philippine government commission formed to investigate Marcos' allegedly "ill-gotten" wealth.
The records document a pattern of commissions and kickbacks paid by American, Japanese and other corporations to close associates of Marcos, according to several investigators who have seen them. The sources, including Salonga, said the records indicate that Japanese firms took the lead in paying kickbacks.
The assertion that a record of campaign contributions from Manila was among the 2,000 pages of documents was confirmed by several sources, including Rep. Robert G. Torricelli (D-N.J.), a member of the House subcommittee investigating Marcos' wealth.
A handwritten notation on the document says the record was kept "for intelligence purposes" and disbursements were made "by authority of the chief of staff."
Federal campaign contributions by foreigners -- including foreign corporations -- are illegal under American election law. Also, individuals in this country are prohibited from donating more than $1,000 to an American presidential candidate.
Torricelli said last night that the money may have been funneled into the Carter and Reagan campaigns by dividing it among 50 donors. Although more difficult to detect, such a strategy would still be illegal under U.S. law.
"It is suggestive, but not conclusive of impropriety . It raises very important questions and a variety of people are going to have some explaining to do," Torricelli said.
The document on the money said to have been channeled into American political campaigns offers no explanation of how the transactions may have been carried out, a source said last night.
Another source said the money to Carter and Reagan was funneled into the general election campaign, rather than the primaries. Under federal election law, general election campaigns cannot accept private donations of any sort because they are financed entirely with public money.
The document was "the only one of its kind" among the more than 2,000 pages being reviewed by investigators late last night, the sources added.
A White House spokesman said late last night that "given the elaborate screening mechanisms of both campaigns in 1980, we would doubt that such a large-scale deception could take place."
Tim Smith, who was general counsel for Carter's 1980 campaign, said in a telephone interview from Florida, "If it came in, I didn't know about it."
John C. White, who was Democratic national chairman in 1980, said, "I never heard of it. I have absolutely no inkling of it. If it were anything that big, I would remember it."
According to sources who have seen the documents, one shows $11 million being paid over several years as commissions by the Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Corp. Westinghouse is under investigation by a federal grand jury for paying commissions to a Marcos associate who helped the company win a contract for the Philippines' first nuclear power facility, U.S. government sources have said.
Westinghouse spokesman Ron Hart said last night that allegations of improper payments had been investigated in the past without any criminal charges being filed. "If there's any new information coming to light we're going to cooperate fully with the authorities," he added.
The discovery of the campaign contributions among the Marcos documents comes a week after a group of dissident Filipino bankers in Manila made undocumented allegations to the new government there that Marcos was engaged in a systematic campaign to buy influence in American politics through campaign contributions and contracts to politically well-connected businesses. Those allegations, however, involved millions of dollars, while the documents revealed last night suggest the actual amounts may be far smaller.
The documents, which mostly cover the years 1980-1984, include bank accounts, receipts, accounting notes, stocks, bearer bonds and handwritten notes from Marcos discussing specific transactions with his associates, according to the congressional and Philippine investigators.
There is also a receipt for the purchase in September 1984 of three pieces of diamond jewelry -- earrings, a choker and a brooch -- for $350,000 for Marcos' daughter, Imee, according to sources familiar with the documents. Other receipts are for relatively insignificant items, such as a $35 cigarette lighter.
Taken together, the paper trail outlines a vast financial and real estate empire, a labyrinth of holdings and assets stretching from Manila to Manhattan and possibly involving some of the largest American and Japanese corporations.
"What we have basically is an international burglary of profound proportions," said Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), ranking minority member of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that received copies of the documents.
"There was constant movement of money between nations," said Torricelli. "It was a financial monsoon. The pattern is one of financial removal from the Philippines."
Salonga told a news conference yesterday that he plans to "name names, and name the companies involved" as soon as he receives clearance from Philippine government lawyers.
The State Department gave copies of the documents to Salonga yesterday morning after two weeks of legal maneuvering that became an early test of relations between the Reagan administration and the new Philippine government headed by President Corazon Aquino. Salonga indicated yesterday that he is not satisfied that he received all relevant documents, and he chided the U.S. government for not handing them over sooner.
In turning over the records, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Michael H. Armacost asked that they be used for "legitimate governmental purposes" and "be treated with the appropriate sensitivity so as not to prejudice law enforcement investigations in either country and to safeguard the reputation of individuals who might otherwise be injured by inaccurate or unproved allegations."
Yesterday morning, the House subcommittee, which has been investigating allegations that Marcos and his wife, Imelda, amassed a fortune in prime New York real estate, subpoenaed the same documents, giving the Justice Department the legal grounds it needed to turn over copies to Congress.
Investigators had long believed that the documents -- brought in on one of two C141 planes that airlifted Marcos to U.S. sanctuary Feb. 26 -- contained the crucial "smoking gun" evidence needed to link the deposed leader to what has been called his "hidden" financial kingdom.
After conducting his long-awaited review of the records, Salonga said they contained few surprises but "confirm what we suspected all along."
At a packed Dupont Circle news conference, Salonga said the documents prove "the raids on the public treasury, the use of military intelligence funds and their misappropriation for the private benefit and use of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos."
He said they also show "the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth in the Philippines and abroad through enormous commissions, bribes and kickbacks given to the cronies and business associates of Mr. Marcos by corporations and enterprises that have been awarded lucrative contracts."
The only name Salonga confirmed was in the documents was that of Herminio T. Disini, a Marcos business associate. A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh is investigating whether Marcos ultimately received most of an alleged $80 million in commissions paid to Disini by Westinghouse for Disini's help in securing a contract to build a billion-dollar nuclear power facility.
Asked if Westinghouse was listed as one of the companies that paid kickbacks, Salonga replied: "I think that's a fair assumption."
Asked if the summary list of commissions and payments included other American corporations, Salonga answered, "Yes." But he was more specific when asked whether Japanese corporations were involved in the commission payments, saying emphatically: "We have evidence of kickbacks paid by Japanese corporations."
Japanese corporations have long been criticized, both at home and abroad, for their generous commissions paid to conduct business in Third World countries.
Salonga said the documents "will be of great relevance" to a court hearing in New York, scheduled for this morning, when the Aquino government will ask a state judge to make permanent his earlier temporary order freezing all transactions involving five New York properties. The Aquino government has said the five properties really belong to Marcos.
But that court case was thrown into some confusion late yesterday when attorneys for one of the building's managers asked that the case be moved from state to federal courts. The Aquino lawyers in New York said they will fight that request, which they view as a delaying tactic.
Earlier yesterday, the House subcommittee issued subpoenas for four Marcos associates believed to be in the United States and alleged by the subcommittee to have acted as "fronts" for the Marcoses in buying one of those New York properties, a 13-acre Long Island estate known as Lindenmere.
Among those subpoenaed were Vilma Bautista, personal secretary to Imelda Marcos, and Jorge Ramos, a Philippine architect and an owner of the estate.
In another development involving that estate, Pablo E. Figueroa, a New York investor who dropped a 1984 lawsuit alleging that Imelda Marcos surreptitiously owned the property, said in an affidavit on Monday that he withdrew the suit only because his relatives in the Philippines feared that something might happen "to jeopardize their safety."