WASHINGTON — Michael K. Deaver complained to lobbying clients that government officials "weren't returning his phone calls," a Boeing Co. executive testified Tuesday at the former presidential aide's perjury trial.
Gilbert W. Keyes, a manager with the Seattle-based aerospace company, said Deaver made the comment to Boeing officials at a time when the Reagan Administration was debating the budget for the space station project. Boeing, a bidder for the project, was fighting budget cuts proposed by the Office of Management and Budget that would be "tantamount to cancellation" of the space station effort, Keyes said.
Asked what he could do, "Mr. Deaver commented that they weren't answering his phone calls," Keyes said. "He was talking very honestly. They weren't returning his phone calls."
Keyes said he assumed Deaver was referring to budget office officials. He said that he and two other Boeing officials at the meeting were disappointed at the remark because they were not sure what Deaver could do to help.
"I remember him saying he would see what he could do," Keyes said in U.S. District Court, but later added: "I don't remember any specific plan."
The prosecution produced another witness to show that Deaver found someone in the Administration who would take his call.
Air Force Col. Gerald M. May, who handled space issues at the National Security Council, said Deaver called him either Dec. 19 or Dec. 20, 1985, to inquire whether a decision had been made about the space station's budget.
May said he had not previously spoken with Deaver and never saw him until he came to testify.
Prosecutors are trying to show that Deaver, who was a $250,000-a-year lobbyist for Boeing after he left the White House staff earlier that year, called May a day after the meeting with Keyes.
May testified, however, that Deaver did nothing to try to influence him. He simply asked what had happened at a Dec. 18, 1985, budget review meeting.
Keyes could not recall just when the meeting in Deaver's office occurred, except that it was late November or December, 1985.