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Son's Band Got Funding After Plea by Hodel

September 25, 1987|Associated Press

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

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 Energy Department, the Oregonian said.

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

Son Taught at College

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 Energy Department, 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 Christian 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.

Admits Asking Favor

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

There was nothing improper about Hodel's request, David Prosperi, his chief press aide, said.

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

Short told the Oregonian it was "probably true" that the band would not have received the $5,500 from the utility without Donald Hodel's request.

But he added: "Any reference to something underhanded or pressure on this is untrue at all. Don and I have been friends for so long--he is the most honorable person I know in the whole world."

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