Political action committees established by Vice President Bush and Sen. Robert J. Dole received a combined total of more than $500,000 during the first six months of 1987 from individuals who also donated to their presidential campaign committees, according to Federal Election Committee records.
Those records further document the close ties that exist between the Bush and Dole presidential campaigns and their respective political action committees (PACs).
By donating to both a candidate's PAC and his personal campaign, donors essentially can sidestep FEC regulations that limit an individual's contribution to $1,000 per federal election campaign.
The Bush and Dole PACs are ostensibly for helping Republican candidates at all levels, while the goal of a candidate's campaign committee is to help that candidate. Numerous candidates -- not just Bush and Dole -- maintain both types of committees.
A computer analysis of FEC contribution reports showed Bush's PAC -- The Fund for America's Future -- received $285,500 during the first six months of 1987 from individuals who also donated $80,500 to his presidential campaign.
The dual contributions came from just 76 individuals. Each gave, on average, $1,059 to the Bush presidential campaign while also contributing an average of $3,757 to his PAC.
Campaign America, the PAC of Sen. Dole (R-Kan.), received $244,000 during the first six months of 1987 from people who also contributed $81,750 to the Dole presidential campaign.
Those donations came from 79 individuals, who averaged $1,035 to his presidential committee and $3,089 to the Dole PAC.
The figures suggest that double donors are generous -- perhaps a bit too generous. Federal election law limits personal contributions to a candidate's campaign committee to $1,000. Those rules also restrict PAC contributions to no more than $5,000 a year.
FEC records show that both candidates received a small number of apparently excessive contributions from double donors. Candidates routinely get contributions that are over the legal limit. The excess part of the donation typically is refunded, as required by law, within a few weeks or a few months.
The analysis also disclosed that more than two out of every five contributors to the Bush PAC during the first half of 1987 also contributed to his presidential campaign. Nearly one out of three double donors gave the maximum: $1,000 to the Bush presidential campaign and $5,000 to the Bush PAC.
About one out of five contributors to Dole's PAC also donated to his campaign. More than two out of five double donors gave the legal maximum to the Dole committees.
Contributions by double donors to the Dole and Bush committees are likely understated. FEC records obtained by The Washington Post contained only contributions of $500 or more made to PACs during the first six months of 1987 and contributions of $500 or more made to the presidential committees during the first nine months of the year.Edward J. Dolbow, data processing senior staff analyst, contributed to this report.