WASHINGTON -- Financial disclosure form filed by Supreme Court justices suggest that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist has developed a penchant for tax-exempt bonds.

Rehnquist, who did not report holding any individual municipal bonds in earlier years, revealed that he purchased bonds with a face value of $105,000 in 1992.

The chief justice reported he bought $30,000 of bonds issued by the Virginia Housing Authority on June 1, 1992.

He said he bought the bonds after cashing in a certificate of deposits in the amount of roughly $37,000, and putting the balance into a money market account.

Rehnquist also reported buying Virginia general obligation bonds on June 16, 1992, with a face value of $75,000. He said he paid about $58,000 for the zero coupon bonds, which mature June 1, 1997. Zero coupon bonds pay no periodic interest. Instead, interest is accumulated and is represented in the redemption price.

The bond purchases were revealed on disclosure forms made available this week that reflect the justices' financial activity during 1992.

Rehnquist's disclosure of his bond purchases in 1992 was somewhat unusual in its detail. The disclosure forms used by the justices do not require an exact accounting of financial instruments. Instead, the justices indicate whether their investments fall within broad dollar categories. In the case of Rehnquist's bond purchases, the chief justice provided the detail in an attachment to his disclosure form.

Rehnquist did not provide similar levels of detail for other investments, but did report earning between $1,001 and $2,500 in 1992 from an investment in a tax-exempt mutual fund offered by John Nuveen & Co. Rehnquist valued his investment at between $15,001 and $50,000.

Rehnquist also reported earnings of between $1,001 and $2,500 in 1992 from two additional tax-exempt mutual funds. He similarly valued each of the two investments at between $15,001 and $50,000. Rehnquist reported that the two mutual funds were inherited by his children under his late wife's will.

Among the other justices, John Paul Stevens reported interest of $1,000 or less from $15,000 or less of bonds issued by the Virginia Public Building Authority, and earnings between $2,5901 and $5,000 from holdings of between $15,001 and $50,000 of Southeastern Public Service Bonds.

Stevens also reported income of between $15,001 and $50,000 during 1992 from holdings of between $100,001 to $250,000 of U.S. Treasury notes. He revealed interest earnings of between $5,001 and $15,000 from an investment valued between $100,001 and $250,000 in a tax-exempt bond fund from LaSalle National Bank in Chicago.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor reported income of $1,000 or less from $15,000 or less of Maricopa County, Ariz., hospital revenue bonds. O'Connor also reported interest earnings of between $2,501 and $5,000 on $50,001 to $100,000 of U.S. Treasury notes with an Oct. 15, 1993 maturity, and roughly the same earnings on a similar amount of Treasury notes maturing May 15, 1994.

Justice Anthony Kennedy reporting holding three zero coupon bonds from the U.S. Treasury with maturities of Nov. 15, 1996, Aug. 15, 1999, and Nov. 15, 1996, respectively. He valued each at $15,000 or less.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun also showed a preference for U.S. government debt. He reported holdings of about $50,000 of Treasury notes, with interest rates ranging from 5.75% to 8.5%.

The rest of the justices -- Byron R. White, Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, and Clarence Thomas -- reported no securities holdings.

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