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Congressional Candidates Spent Big In '94 Vote

REPUBLICANS say their promise to cut the size of government helped them win control of Congress in November. But money played a part, too.

A report this week from the US Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows the Republicans mainly responsible for a surge in campaign spending to a record $589.5 million - an $87.5 million increase over 1992. The jump will renew calls for campaign-finance reform from public-interest groups.

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GOP spending on races for the House and Senate rose 29 percent over 1992, going from $227.5 million to $293.6 million. Spending by Democratic candidates grew 8 percent, from $270 million to $292.3 million.

The report confirmed that multi-millionaire businessman Michael Huffington (R) waged the costliest Senate race in history, spending $29.4 million in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California. He was followed by another GOP loser, Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame, who spent $19.76 million trying to defeat Sen. Charles Robb (D) of Virginia.

The top spender on the House side ($3.1 million) was freshman Rep. Eugene Fotenot (R) of Texas. The new House minority leader, Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri, came in second at $2.5 million.

The FEC announced that Prudential Securities agreed to pay $550,000, the largest civil penalty the agency has imposed in its 19-year history for election law violations for illegally soliciting campaign funds from its own executives and other businessmen for nine political candidates.

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