Election Panel Investigating Political Fund Raising at Ibm

Article excerpt

The Federal Election Commission is investigating senior executives of International Business Machines Corp. for possible violations of federal election laws, corporate documents show.

The inquiry focuses on money that John F. Akers, a former IBM chairman and chief executive officer, and more than a dozen other executives contributed at a fund-raising lunch for then-President George Bush.

The donations all were made within several days of a fund-raising event Nov. 12, 1991, given by Akers in New York, a practice commonly known as "bundling." The timing prompted the FEC to question whether the contributions violated restrictions on corporate donations and fund-raising activities.

Federal election laws allow corporate officials to spend "incidental" time at their offices on personal political activities. But if corporate officials make any protracted and concerted effort to solicit contributions from company workers, the time and resources could be considered illegal corporate contributions.

Also, the FEC has issued opinions in which it bars using corporations as a conduit for contributions by workers. The specifics of the FEC's investigation of IBM were withheld. …