The Federal Election Commission levied $477,000 in fines yesterday in connection with political donations involving toymaker Mattel Inc.

The civil agreement with the company covers political contributions to 23 candidates, two party committees and five political action committees from 1996 to 2000. The recipients included Democrats and Republicans.

The fines stem from an arrangement in which Mattel reimbursed individual donors for $120,714 in contributions.

The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits making a contribution in the name of another and also bars corporations from making contributions from their general treasury funds in connection with any election of any candidate for federal office. The civil agreements cover Mattel, former Mattel senior vice president Fermin Cuza and former Mattel consultant Alan Schwartz.

Cuza was in charge of government affairs at Mattel and directing the hiring of Schwartz as a consultant to the company, the FEC said in a statement.

According to the agreements with the FEC, Mattel at Cuza's direction paid Schwartz's firm for consulting services and Schwartz used the money to make donations to federal candidates and political committees. Schwartz also used funds from Mattel to reimburse people, including Cuza, for donations to political committees.

Among the recipients were the Democratic National Committee, the Gore 2000 presidential campaign and California's Democratic senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

Several Republicans were among the recipients: Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, both of Florida, and former House member Steven Kuykendall of California.

The FEC said it found no evidence that any of the recipients were aware that the toymaker was the source of the donations.