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Gary Hart Returns To Law Firm, Plans To Ask For Funds

May 13, 1987 GMT

DENVER (AP) _ Former presidential candidate Gary Hart has returned to his law practice in Denver and plans to apply for more than $1 million in federal money to help pay off campaign debts, an aide says.

Hart, who works for the law firm of Davis, Graham and Stubbs, has no plans to make a public appearance any time soon, spokesman Kevin Sweeney said Tuesday.

″He’s just doing normal stuff,″ Sweeney said. ″Getting his hair cut and that sort of thing.″

Hart, 50, had been considered the Democratic front-runner in the race for the presidency. But he dropped out of the contest Friday following reports by The Miami Herald that he had spent part of a weekend with 29-year-old Donna Rice, a pharmaceutical saleswoman and aspiring actress from Miami.

Hart contended that reporters were focusing on his personal life and not on his campaign message.

On Tuesday, Hart met with his top staff in Denver and decided to apply for federal matching funds. That money is provided to presidential candidates under a program designed to help reduce the cost of campaigning.

The Federal Election Commission in Washington ultimately will decide if Hart qualifies for matching funds. The former Colorado senator received $5.3 million in federal money during his 1984 presidential campaign.

Campaign staffers said they would formally request the money for the 1988 bid early next week.

Last month, Hart asked the commission for permission to use 1988 campaign donations to pay off the $1.3 million debt remaining from his 1984 campaign. That request is pending.

David Miller, Hart’s budget director, said the campaign also hopes to use the 1988 matching federal funds to pay off the 1984 campaign debt if the commission aproves both requests.

Miller said even without matching funds, the 1988 campaign probably won’t end in debt. He said about $2 million will be raised and spent by the time staffers close the books on Hart’s presidential campaign.