WASHINGTON — A House subcommittee charged today that Michael K. Deaver lied under oath at least three times to the panel and voted 17 to 0 to refer its evidence to a special prosecutor investigating the former White House aide's lobbying activities.
The bipartisan vote to refer the perjury allegations followed a 2-hour closed-door meeting of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on investigations and oversight. With the vote, the panel adopted a staff report that concluded, "Mr. Deaver knowingly and willfully testified falsely" in each of the three instances.
Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), subcommittee chairman, and Rep. Norman F. Lent (R-N.Y.) said transcripts of Deaver's testimony concerning his private lobbying for Rockwell International Corp., maker of the B-1 bomber; for Puerto Rico on federal tax issues, and about contacts with U.S. ambassadors will be referred to Whitney North Seymour, the independent counsel.
Randall Turk, a lawyer for Deaver, said in a statement, "We are confident that after a full and impartial investigation, Mr. Deaver will be cleared of any wrongdoing, including the suggestion today that he may possibly have committed perjury."
He accused the subcommittee staff of "fly-specking 5 1/2 hours of testimony." He said there are "testimony and documents that support Mr. Deaver's story" about his meeting on the B-1 with James C. Miller III, director of the Office of Management and Budget.
He termed "specious" the allegations about Deaver's testimony on ambassadors, saying his client "testified concerning all ambassadors about whom he was questioned."
Turk declined comment about Deaver's account of a phone call to former national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane on the ground that Seymour's office already is investigating whether it violated conflict-of-interest statutes.
Seymour was named on May 29 as an independent counsel to investigate allegations that Deaver violated at least three provisions of federal ethics laws by lobbying for Canada and Puerto Rico.
According to a subcommittee staff report, Deaver testified that, after resigning his White House post in May, 1985, he had only one contact with the executive office of the President, that with William Sittmann of the National Security Council.
After his testimony, "the staff received information that Mr. Deaver had a significant telephone conversation in the summer of 1985 with Mr. Robert C. McFarlane" to raise questions about the tax code in regard to Deaver's lobbying for Puerto Rico, the report said.
The second instance of possible perjury, the report said, occurred when Deaver responded to questions about his contacts with U.S. ambassadors after leaving office by saying he had contacts with the U.S. ambassadors to Korea, Singapore and India.
The report said Deaver did not mention "significant contacts" with Richard Burt, the ambassador to West Germany, and Mike Mansfield, the ambassador to Japan.
The third instance of possible perjury involved Deaver's testimony that he told Rockwell International that he was going to call on Budget Director Miller to discuss the B-1 bomber.
The report said that Rockwell officials told the subcommittee staff that the "first they learned of Mr. Deaver's meeting with Mr. Miller was from newspaper accounts . . . and that they were never told of it by Mr. Deaver."