Following is the text of President Carter's statement yesterday on Budget Director Bert Lance:
I have reviewed the report of the comptroller both personally and also with the White House legal counsel Bob Lipshutz, and my faith in the character and competence of Bert Lance has been reconfirmed. I see no other conclusion that can be drawn from any objective of these findings.
It's obvious that few individuals in government or out of government have ever undergone such an extensive and detailed investigation of their personal and business affairs by the comptroller's office, by the Justice Department and twice by the Senate committee.
This process has not been an easy one for Bert or for those who are close to him. But I think I speak for him and his family as well as for myself when I say that we all recognize that intense scrutiny is a legitimate part of public life and public service.
I want to conclude by thanking Bert Lance for standing firm through difficult times, by answering every question put to him and by going through this ordeal the last several weeks and in all instances conducting himself as a gentlemen and a man of complete intergity.
What is important is that Bert Lance is a man of competence, of honesty, trustworthy and a man of intergrity and that his services to this country can and should continue.
Bert Lance enjoys my confidence and support. I am proud to have him as part of my administration. As he has been throughout, Mr. Lance is now available to answer any questions that you might have.
As far as I'm concerned as president, the intense investigation and the comptroller's report have answered questions that were raised against bert Lance and any questions that you might have now in addition to those answered by the comptroller or including those, Bert will be glad to provide those answers to you.
Bert, I'm proud of you.
Following is the text of a statement yesterday by Budget Director Bert Lance:
As you know, the comptroller of the currency today has issued what I consider to be very favorable report on my activities. The comptroller, in my judgement, has made an in-depth, through and fair inquiry. It is a report of major significance. I let the report speak for itself. But I would note that the report says the information developed in the inquiry does not warrant the prosecution of any individual, nor has there been found any violation of federal banking laws or regulations with regard to any correspondent banking relationship.
I cannot say the last few weeks have been exactly enjoyable to me or my family. There have been, in some instances, inaccuracies. But I realize that in our democratic society, government officials at times come under political and public scrutiny. That is part of our process. I have no grudges to bear, I bear no resentment. I fully realize that members of the new media have a responsibility, and they have carried out that responsbility. The First Admendment under which the media operates is a cherished freedom to us all.
The question has been raised of whether I will and whether I can continue with my responsiblities as director of the Office of Management and Budget. As far as I am concerned I intend to continue with those responsiblities and I am confident I can do so effectively. I feel my ability to carry out my job has not been damaged. In this regard I deeply appreciate the confidence which the President has expressed in me.
I feel strongly that if allegations such as those raised in recent days can cripple a person's ability to carry out his or her job, then we are in bad shape in our country.