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Hodel Asked Utility Officer to Aid Son's Touring Band

September 24, 1987|Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — While he was U.S. secretary of energy, Donald P. Hodel asked a utility executive to help Hodel's son and six friends find funds to pay tour expenses of their Christian rock 'n' roll band, a published report said today.

Hodel, who is now secretary of the interior, asked for help in 1984 from the chief executive officer of Portland General Electric Co., which has extensive dealings with the Department of Energy, the Oregonian newspaper said.

Robert H. Short, the chief executive officer and a personal friend of Hodel, said he arranged for the band to receive $5,500 from a $34,000 donation the utility had promised for building construction at Warner Pacific College, a Christian liberal arts college in Portland.

Hodel's son, Dave, 26, taught for nine months in an unpaid position at the college during the 1983-84 school year.

There has been no allegation that Short's favor to Hodel was related to any specific transaction between the utility and the Department of Energy, the newspaper said. However, federal regulations generally prohibit Cabinet officers from using their positions to benefit themselves or their families.

Jay A. Barber Jr., Warner Pacific's vice president for college advancement, said he had authorized paying the money to the rock 'n' roll band, known as Rushing Wind Ministries.

Barber said he thought it was proper because the band included students and staff members of Warner Pacific and planned to promote the college on its tour.

Through his chief spokesman, the interior secretary acknowledged he asked Short, a longtime friend, if Short could introduce his son to people who might be willing to donate money to the band.

"If something like that is irregular, then it's irregular any time a father does something on behalf of his son or daughter," said press aide David Prosperi.

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