Budget director Bert Lance made public a central document concerning his financial transaction just hours after the comptroller of the currency had strenuosly warned Lance against any public discussion of such matters, according to records in the comptroller's office.
A transcript of Lance's sworn testimony before the comptroller, John G. Heimann, shows that Heimann repeatedly expressed concern that an internal memorandum concerning a loan to Lance from a New York bank might leak to the press.
The transcript of Lance's testimony before the comptroller was stamped "confidential" by the comptroller's office. A copy was obtained by The Washington Post.
Heimann asked Lance to the early morning session after the comptroller's investigators found an internal memorandum from Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. of New York that suggested that Lance's National Bank of Georgia had established a large interest-free account at Manufacturers Hanover as a condition of a personal loan to Lance from the New York bank.
Heimann warned Lance that the use of the Georgia bank's funds to help Lance obtain a personal loan may have violated federal banking laws.
Heimann's deputy. Westbrook Murphy, told Lance that "We have got no choice with those circumstances but to refer the case to the Attorney General."
At the point Lance and his lawyer, Alex Smithbegan asking - at some places almost begging - that Heimann not pass the matter on for criminal prosecution. In the end Lance and Smith were success.
Lance maintained that the internal memo had been written by a Manufacturers Hanover officer who did not know the conditions attached to his personal loan. He said there was no discussion of deposit from the Georgia bank when he visited Manufactures Hanover to negotiate his loan.
Accordingly Lance argued the comptroller's office should talk to all Manufacturer Hanover officers familiar with the circumstances before referring the case to the Justice Department.
Heimann accepted that reasoning.
In the detailed report on Lance's finances which he released on Aug. 18 the comptroller concluded that Lance's dealings with Manufacturers Hanover involved "no violation of any applicable laws or regulation.