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Irregularities in Awarding of Contracts Told

July 22, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two investigations have uncovered irregularities in the awarding of State Department contracts to publicize the Administration's pro- contra and Central America policies, Administration and congressional sources said Tuesday.

The investigations, one an internal probe conducted by the department's inspector general and the other a congressionally instigated investigation by the General Accounting Office, found that proper procedures were not followed in the 1984-1986 contracts awarded to a public relations firm involved in the Iran-contra affair and to other contractors for research and reports, the sources said.

The findings are expected to be raised during questioning of Secretary of State George P. Shultz when he testifies Thursday before the congressional Iran-contra committees.

$419,000 Given to Firm

The State Department's Office of Latin American Public Diplomacy awarded at least $419,000 worth of contracts to International Business Communications, a public relations firm that worked closely with fired White House aide Lt. Col. Oliver L. North on private efforts to help the rebels in Nicaragua.

IBC's president, Richard R. Miller, is one of two people who has pleaded guilty in the Iran-contra case to conspiracy to defraud the government by illegally using a tax-exempt foundation to raise money for contra weapons.

The State Department's inspector general report, which has not yet been released, reportedly criticizes department contracting staff as well as Otto Reich, who headed the Public Diplomacy Office when the IBC contracts were awarded.

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