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Ex-Reagan Aide, at Deaver Probe, Defends Role

Times Staff Writer

Former White House counsel Fred F. Fielding defended his conduct in a closed hearing Tuesday as congressional investigators expanded their inquiry into lobbyist Michael K. Deaver’s activities to include a controversial memo written by Fielding last February.

Some Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee, which has been looking into Deaver’s work for U.S. companies and foreign countries, charged that Fielding--while serving as White House counsel--wrote a memo helpful to Deaver at the same time Fielding was discussing a possible job with Deaver’s firm.

During the session, however, Fielding defended his Feb. 28 memo as accurate and proper, subcommittee members said.

At issue was whether Drew Lewis, President Reagan’s special envoy on the Canadian acid rain problem, was a White House official at the time that Deaver contacted him last Oct. 25 on behalf of Canada, one of Deaver’s clients.

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Under terms of the federal Ethics in Government Act, Deaver was prohibited from contacting any White House employee for one year after May 10, 1985, the date that Deaver resigned as White House deputy chief of staff.

Fielding’s memo to David H. Martin, director of the Office of Government Ethics, stated that Lewis “had no administrative support from the White House office.” However, officials of the General Accounting Office testified to the subcommittee last month that Lewis was a White House employee because he was given office space in the White House complex and received administrative support from presidential funds.

Fielding had been approached about working for Deaver’s lobbying firm upon leaving government service. He excused himself from considering Deaver’s ethics case several days later and never took a job with Deaver’s company.


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