WASHINGTON — A former top aide to ex-Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret M. Heckler pleaded guilty Monday to charges that he improperly pocketed $55,300 in foundation and government funds while working for the Reagan Administration.
C. McClain Haddow, 36, former chief of staff to Heckler, faces a possible four-year prison term and a $500,000 fine for his guilty plea to two conflict-of-interest charges.
U.S. District Judge Gerhard Gesell scheduled sentencing for Sept. 8.
Haddow admitted taking 90% of the $37,400 that a private foundation, which he helped to set up, paid to a fund-raiser. He also admitted taking most of the $25,500 he had arranged for the department to pay Gordon and Susan Jones for writing speeches for Heckler.
Justice Department prosecutors agreed to drop five other counts in the indictment, including mail fraud charges, as part of the plea agreement with Haddow.
Haddow admitted that he signed a false statement on Jan. 24, 1985, that said he had no financial interest in the T. Bear Foundation, which he had helped to set up to promote hand-washing among children and health-care professionals.
The statement was filed with the Health and Human Services Department to obtain a waiver of conflict-of-interest rules that would have prohibited Haddow from serving on the foundation's board of directors.
It was false because Haddow, as he admitted in court, arranged to be given $33,540 of the $37,400 the foundation paid to fund-raiser Michelle Magoon.
Haddow, who ran the 1976 campaign of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and later headed Hatch's Utah staff, served as Heckler's top aide before leaving the HHS early last year.
He admitted using his HHS post to solicit donations to the foundation from health-care and pharmaceutical firms, which the indictment said included Abbott Laboratories, Eli Lilly & Co., Hoffmann-LaRoche and the American Hospital Supply Corp.
Haddow delivered a speech about the foundation to potential donors who attended a Nov. 24, 1984, luncheon given by Heckler, the indictment said.
Haddow also admitted using his official position to obtain $25,500 in speech-writing contracts for the Jones couple and taking most of that money for himself. Prosecutor G. Allen Carver Jr. said Haddow pocketed $21,790.