Deaver Asks for Special Prosecutor
Lobbyist Michael K. Deaver asked Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III today to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations that he violated conflict-of-interest laws after leaving the White House as President Reagan’s deputy chief of staff.
Meese told a news conference that he will remove himself from any Justice Department review of the Deaver matter in view of his long association with Deaver.
Deaver, in a statement released by his office, said: “I believe elementary due process and fairness to me and my family require appointment of an independent counsel.
“While I am grateful for the President’s continuing support, the climate has become such that this is the only way to resolve the issue fairly.”
Meese was conducting a news conference at the same time Deaver’s statement was read to news agencies. He did not mention Deaver’s request for the appointment of a special prosecutor.
Said Meese: “Because of my long association with Mr. Deaver that goes back almost 20 years to California I have determined to recuse myself in any proceedings in this matter.”
Meese said any action taken at the Justice Department regarding Deaver would be reviewed by Deputy Atty. Gen. D. Lowell Jensen, who would make a final determination.
Meese refused to provide any details of what the Justice Department plans to do regarding the Deaver matter, saying “investigations or possible inquiries within the department is something on which we don’t comment.”
On Friday, David Martin, head of the Office of Government Ethics, recommended to Meese that a special prosecutor look into Deaver’s business dealings.
There have been allegations that Deaver violated the law by lobbying on issues which he handled while in the White House.
Federal conflict-of-interest law prohibits former top officials from lobbying for two years on issues that were directly under their purview during their final year in office. Additionally, the officials cannot lobby colleagues with whom they worked in the same office for one year.
Deaver, 48, was Reagan’s deputy chief of staff. He left the White House a year ago to open up a lobbying firm that immediately attracted a range of foreign and domestic clients, including the governments of Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
Among the allegations against Deaver are that he took a keen interest in acid rain matters before he left his White House job. Shortly after leaving public office, Deaver signed a $105,000 contract with the government of Canada to advise it on acid rain and other issues.