WASHINGTON — The government owes former President George Bush $272,352 for legal expenses during a special prosecutor's investigation of his role in the Iran-Contra affair, a court ruled Friday.
Bush had sought $461,346, but the panel of three appellate judges that supervises independent counsel investigations said that amount was not justified.
Independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh accused Bush of "misconduct" and of completing a "cover-up" after the then-President pardoned six Iran-Contra defendants on Dec. 24, 1992.
Walsh also investigated Bush's failure to turn over his 1986 diary notes until December, 1992, after he lost the presidential election to Bill Clinton. The White House said it did not discover the diaries until September, 1992.
The Ethics in Government Act allows government reimbursement of lawyers' fees for people who are the subject of an investigation by an independent counsel but are not indicted.
The amount covers lawyers' fees between December, 1992, and November, 1993. Bush's legal team was headed by Atlanta lawyer Griffin B. Bell, attorney general during the Jimmy Carter Administration.
Bush maintained for years that he was "out of the loop" in the Iran-Contra affair, which involved the sale of U.S. arms to Iran and the diversion of profits to the Nicaraguan rebels when such aid was barred by federal law.