President Reagan was described as “very upset” today over a published report that Nancy Reagan has continued to borrow designer clothes and costly jewelry but has not reported the loans as required by federal law.
“Time magazine is on shaky ground,” White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said, in commenting on a report in this week’s issue that the First Lady has worn more than $1 million worth of borrowed clothes, including some dresses that were not returned to the designer.
“There are a lot of implications there,” Fitzwater said, adding that the allegations are unsubstantiated.
Mrs. Reagan’s press secretary, Elaine Crispen, acknowledged today that the First Lady has borrowed and returned expensive gowns and other clothing used for official functions, but maintained that nothing in the government ethics laws required disclosure of these transactions.
Crispen confirmed that the First Lady has been lent gowns since 1982. White House lawyers had agreed in 1982 that any borrowed dresses should be considered as loans--and reported.
‘All ... Returned’
“I don’t think the (Ethics in Government Act of 1978) required for those gowns to be reported,” Crispen said. “They have all been returned.”
Crispen told Time that there were some disclosures in 1981 because it was decided to list the dresses borrowed, even though officials did not believe it was required, just to allay any doubt about the transactions.
The spokeswoman had said last week that Mrs. Reagan told her that she has bought all the clothes she has worn since early 1982, according to the magazine. Today, Crispen amended that to say “she considers her personal wardrobe to have been bought. There have been things that have been borrowed--and returned--since 1982.”