The number of senators who refuse to take honoraria for speeches to special interest groups grew from 10 to 19 in 1989, according to financial disclosure forms released yesterday.
With even more senators swearing off honoraria this year, the number of abstainers is expected to total at least 34 by next year, according to an analysis of the forms by the lobbying group Common Cause.
But the number of senators who raised more than $50,000 from speech-making to outside groups grew in 1989 and nearly one-third of the 100 senators continued to keep at least $35,000, or nearly the maximum allowed by law, for their own use, the forms showed.
Together, these developments are expected to tug at the Senate from opposite directions as it prepares to consider legislation, possibly within a few weeks, to ban acceptance of any fees for outside speeches, as the House has already done for the session that will start next January.
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) has introduced legislation to ban honoraria in the Senate, starting next year, and said recently that he expects to bring it up as an amendment to pending legislation in the near future, a spokesman said.
To a greater extent than House members, who released their disclosure forms Tuesday, senators rely on outside income -- ranging from enormous family wealth for those such as Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) to outside speechmaking for many others -- to supplement their official salary. Senate salary was $89,500 last year and is now $98,400.
While lawmakers report personal wealth and income only by general categories, largely obscuring the total amounts, the reporting of honoraria is specific, adding up to $2.7 million for 1989, according to the analysis by Common Cause, which is lobbying for a ban on honoraria.
This is roughly the same amount senators reported for 1988. It includes $2 million that went into senators' pockets and $685,449 donated to charities, Common Cause reported.
But the number of senators who are refusing to accept honoraria or are giving the entire amount to charity is growing rapidly, according to the reports and the Common Cause analysis.
Among the 94 senators whose reports were released yesterday (six others will file later), 19 took no honoraria last year, compared with 10 in 1988. In addition, at least three others gave all their honoraria to charity.
Others who stopped taking payments this year or have said they plan to stop next year will bring the total of honoraria abstainers to 34, or just over one-third of the Senate, according to Common Cause.
Regaining his role as honoraria king of the Senate was Minority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.), who reported receiving $108,900 for speeches, keeping $35,750 and giving the rest to charity. Dole had lost the title in 1988 to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who came in second last year with $92,499.
In all, 32 senators, including Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-Maine), kept at least $35,000, within $1,000 of the maximum allowable to senators, who can keep outside speaking fees equivalent to 40 percent of their salary. They may accept more but must give it to charity. The limit is somewhat higher for Senate leaders, who receive higher pay. Mitchell kept $39,000 of the $50,000 he took in, more than any of his colleagues. Thirty-one senators kept the maximum in 1988.
Sixteen senators reported honoraria receipts of at least $50,000. In addition to Dole, Hatch and Mitchell, they included Minority Whip Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.), Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.), John H. Chafee (R-R.I.), David Durenberger (R-Minn.), Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), David L. Boren (D-Okla.), John Breaux (D-La.), Donald W. Riegle (D-Mich.), Jake Garn (R-Utah), Alan J. Dixon (D-Ill.) and Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.).
Most senators, especially seven who are under investigation by the Senate ethics committee, seemed to be going out of their way to avoid the appearance of impropriety in their activities and in the reports on them.
Durenberger, who faces ethics charges arising from a book deal and expense-paid trips, amended his earlier reports to show he received free lodging in Florida for the 1986, 1987 and 1988 Christmas holidays. The lodging came from a friend, Robert Windom, whom Durenberger had recommended for the job of assistant secretary of health and human services during the Reagan administration. "You get so sensitive, you dig for everything," said Durenberger spokesman Lois West.
Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.), who is also under scrutiny by the ethics committee, submitted a form prepared by a certified public accountant.
Like House members, senators' accounting of gifts was meticulously detailed.
Domenici reported a mausoleum crypt valued at up to $5,000. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) listed a $1,500 sleeper sofa. Among the gifts for Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) were a yellow Labrador puppy named Gus ($300) and long underwear and headgear for hunting ($145). Boren's staff gave him four place settings of Senate china valued at $668, and he reported it. Dodd got eight bottles of Scotch ($180).
For the rich, the problem was somewhat different.
Sen. Herbert H. Kohl (D-Wis.), a multimillionaire who used several of those millions to get elected in 1988, submitted a half-inch-thick report that included 28 pages of transactions as well as gross receipts from the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, which he owns. Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) listed four pages of partnerships, 18 pages of other holdings and 40 pages of transactions. Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.) took 23 pages to list assets and income. Sen John Heinz (R-Pa.), an heir to the ketchup and pickle fortune, listed 45 holdings estimated to be worth "over $250,000."
There were relatively few expense-paid foreign trips, and most of them were financed by groups such as the Aspen Institute. But some senators listed foreign investments. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.), for example, disclosed a purchase of stock worth $5,000 to $15,000 from DeBeers Consolidated Mines Ltd., the South African diamond enterprise, and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) reported buying a zero-coupon bond from Sweden for a child.
Some spouses had more interesting earnings than the senators. While Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) reported such things as a $21,432 college pension, he showed his wife as having collected a $3,500 consulting fee from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay, India, for recreating a Mongol garden she had discovered earlier in India as an archaeological writer. She asked the hotel to use the fee for a reception for those who worked on the project with her, an aide to the senator said.
Not all the senators were pictured in their financial portraits as scions of great wealth. Once again, Mitchell appeared to be among the least affluent. So did Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), although this year he managed to come out in the black by claiming equity of more than $250,000 in his house, even though Senate rules do not call for accounting of a senator's permanent residence. Last year he had been embarrassed by hometown headlines listing him as the poorest member of Congress, mired in debt. This year, Biden's assets exceed liabilities by a comfortable margin. Staff writers Charles Babcock, Tom Kenworthy and John E. Yang and staff researcher Ralph Gaillard contributed to this report.
Sen. George J. Mitchell (D-Maine)
Position: Majority Leader
Honoraria accepted: $50,000
Honoraria to charity: $11,000
Of interest: Reported income of $22,500 in book royalites from Bill Adler Books Inc., for "Men of Zeal," written with Sen. William S. Cohen (R-Maine).
Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.)
Position: Majority Whip
Honoraria accepted: None reported
Honoraria to charity: None reported
Of interest: Reported $18,253 in Social Security benefits.
Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.)
Position: Minority Leader
Honoraria accepted: $108,900, including $72,000 sent directly to charities
Honoraria to charity: $73,150
Of interest: Reported receiving between $1,001 and $2,500 in interest on federal income tax refund.
Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.)
Position: Minority Whip
Honoraria accepted: $90,600
Honoraria to charity: $55,099.61
Of interest: Reported income of $40,000 from daily radio commentaries.