Military contractors who hired John Tower to lobby for them also gave thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to some of the senators voting on the defense secretary-designate's nomination, records show.

Several members of the Senate Armed Services Committee accepted campaign money in 1987 and 1988 from political action committees of the defense contracting firms that paid Tower, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.All told, Tower said he received just over $1 million in fees over a three-year period from defense contractors including industry giants such as Rockwell International, Martin Marietta Corp., LTV Aerospace and Defense Co., and Textron Corp.

The political action committees of those four companies contributed heavily to the campaigns of many presidential candidates, senators, and congressmen over the last two years, records show.

Sen. Albert Gore, D-Tenn., an armed services committee member who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year, received $2,000 from LTV, along with $3,000 from Textron.

Federal election law prohibits companies from giving directly to campaigns, but PACs may contribute up to $10,000 per election cycle to a candidate.

At the committee, the senator collecting the most money from the four defense firms was Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat who won re-election in New Mexico. He received a total of $18,000, including the largest single contribution in the group: $10,000 from Textron.

Other committee members at the top end of the scale were Sens. Pete Wilson, R-Calif., who took $15,800 from the four firms, and Malcolm Wallop, R-Wyo., who received $15,700. Wallop is a new member of the panel. Both men were re-elected last year.

Another member up for re-election, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., accepted $1,000 from LTV Aerospace, the records show.

Two senators who do not face re-election until 1992 took contributions from the defense companies. Sen. Richard Shelby, D-Ala., accepted $3,000 from Textron, and $1,000 each from LTV Aerospace and Martin Marietta.

And Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., took $2,500 from Textron, and $1,000 each from Martin Marietta and LTV.