Following are excerpts from U.S. budget director Bert Lance's opening statement yesterday before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee: Failure to Disclose Information
At the time this committee commenced its inventigation of my qualifications to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, I submitted detailed written information outlining my personal and financial background. In addition, I specifically authorized this committee to obtain any further "written opinions as you may deem appropriate in investigation my nomination."
Prior to a confrimation hearing, it is customary for the nominee to meet with Senate investigators to explore his qualifications for the office, provide explanation and information as to his personal and financial background, and in general, answer any questions that are raised.
I attended such a meeting with Senate investigators on Jan. 13, 1977 . . .
During the course of that meeting, I disclosed to the representatives of this committee the various financial matters which now are the focus of this hearing.
At our meeting on Jan. 13, I discussed with the committee investigators my previous relationship with the National Bank of Georgia and the Calhoun First National Bank.
We discussed my financial assets and liabilities, including loans I had obtained from various banks.
We discussed in detail the entire matter concerning the Calhoun First National Bank's involvement in my 1974 gubernatorial race, including overdrafts incurred by my campaign committee, the investigation by the comptroller's office and the subsequent referral of this case to the Department of Justice.
I advised them of my personal overdrafts. We discussed previous financial problems of the Calhoun First National Bank and their current status.
Specifically, I disclosed and we discussed the agreement between the office of the comptroller of the currency and the Calhoun First National Bank. We further discussed the fact that the agreement had been removed in November, 1976, by the regional administrator of the comptroller's office.
Statements taken in the recent IRS investigation of the comptroller's office confirms my present testimony. Mr. Childers, who was present at the Jan. 13 meeting, was interviewed during the IRS investigation.
His statement, which was released last Friday, reveals that Mr. Childers and Mr. Schaeffer of the committee had telephone conversations on Jan. 17 and 18 with Mr. Robert Bloom, then acting comptroller of the currency, during which the committee investigators asked Mr. Bloom "about the campaign and personal overdrafts of Mr. Lance and his family."
Mr. Bloom indicated to them that overdrafts of $100,000 to $200,000 would be "in the ballpark." In those conversations Mr. Bloom also advised the Senate investigators that "the campaign overdrafts were referred to the DEPARTMENT OF Justice and Justice declined prosecution."
Finally, Mr. Bloom told the Senate investigators "that personal overdrafts of the Lance, David, and Chance families had been handled internally and administratively, and had been paid with interest."
Mr. Schaeffer's testimony in connection with the Internal Revenue Service investigation again confirms that Senate investigators of this committee were fully cognizant at the time of my confirmation hearing of "possible problems involving overdrafts by Mr. Lance and his family at the Calhoun National Bank and possible campaign violations." Mr. Schaeffer testified that on Jan. 17, 1977, he made a report about these matters to Sens. Percy and Ribicoff. That Sens. Percy and Ribicoff later professed lack of knowledte as to this information is thus, to say the least, somewhat puzzling . . .
Admittedly, discussions I had in mid-January with the Senate investigators regarding the matters which have now taken on such importance did not include a microscopic review of my affairs. The failure to review additional financial data was not due to any hesitation on my part to disclose anything of interest to the committee.
I apprised this committee in some detail of my past financial and personal background and answered fully and accurately all questions that any senator or staff member asked. Personal Loans, Correspondent Accounts
At the time of my confirmation hearing, I submitted a financial statement which set forth various personal loans I had obtained. A great controversy has since arisen regarding my "pattern of borrowing" from certain banks in which the National Bank of Georgia and Calhoun First National Bank had correspondent accounts.
It had been alleged that I maintained certain correspondent accounts as compensating balances to help me secure personal loans. It is said that I used depositors' money in the banks of which I was an officer for my own personal benefit in order to obtain more favorable loans from the correspondent banks. There is no truth to this charge . . .
The comptroller has investigated three instances involving me where such violations were alleged to have existed. They involved loans from the First National Bank of Chicago, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., and the Fulton National Bank.
In no instance was there a finding that the terms of my loans were more favorable because the lending institution was a correspondent bank. In all cases it was determined that the interest rate that had been charged on the loan was at least the market rate.
Further, the comptroller's report reveals that in all instances the banks with which I was associated received services for the deposit which fully justified the correspondent relationship. In other words, neither side of the equation outlined by the comptroller in Banking Circular No. 31 was found to exist. Backdated Checks, Evasion of Income Tax
Given the politically charged atomosphere in hearings of this kind, I suppose it is natural to expect that the progress of the hearing would be accompanied by an occasional savage charge. Yet that expectation does not fully prepare one to confront the reality of the accusation when it is carried by the national press. So I learned last Friday.
Last Friday this committee heard testimony about Exhibit 4 of Section B of the comptroller's report of Sept. 7, 1977, which contains an analysis of a series of my checking transactions of the period Dec. 31, 1976, to Jan. 15, 1977 . . .
The exhibit at issue contained copies of five checks numbered 917 through 921 and payable in varying amounts. Sen. Percy noted that the checks numbered 918 through 921 were dated prior to the checks numbered 917 and 918. With this so-called "evidence," Sen. Percy suggested to the American people that I had backdated checks to take illegal tax deductions. The facts disprove such a charge.
The checks numbered 919 through 921 were written on Dec. 31, 1976, as indicated on the checks themselves. No backdating of the checks occurred. The explanation why checks numbered 919 through 921 were dated prior to checks containing the serial numbers 917 and 918 is a simple one.
The checks numbered 917 and 918 had been removed from the checkbook while blank and kept by me for possible use in my briefcase. I frequently tear out checks from the checkbook in this manner so that I will have checks with me when I need them.
On Dec. 31, 1976, I used the checks in the checkbook, numbered 919 through 921, and wrote the checks referred to in the comptroller's report. A week later, I used the two checks numbered 917 and 918 which I had removed from the checkbook to draw checks payable to Citizens and Southern Bank . . .
I find some irony in the fact that such importance was placed on the dates contained on my checks. These dates had no bearing on income tax deductions that were taken by me for 1976 . . .
Interest deductions taken by me in 1976 for interest paid to National City Bank mentioned in Exhibit 4 as the payee of checks 920 and 921 totaled $8,985.57. That figure was obtained from the bank and was based on seven interest payments I made to the National City Bank during 1976, the last of which was made on the 10th of November.
Interest paid to the Chemical Bank (the payee mentioned on check 919) which was deducted on my 1976 tax return, totaled $7,160.96. Again, the figure was provided by the bank and was based on two interest payments I made, one in July 1976 and the other in November 1976.
None of the checks in question, i.e., Nos. 919-921, was included in calculating any interest expense for my 1976 tax return . . . Overdraft
The overdrafts which occurred at the Calhoun bank are a matter of record. However, I do find it curious that the news stories have grouped all overdrafts incurred by me, by my family, and by relatives and in-laws and imply that I personally had overdrafts of $450,000. This is a gross distorition of the truth.
The Calhoun First National Bank for years followed a liberal policy with respect to overdrafts. I make no apology for this practice. It was believed by the bank's management that a liberal overdraft policy was a valuable tool for the bank to use in attracting and retaining customers. Despite the charactization of the banks as my "personal toy," members of the Lance family were no accorded special favors regarding overdrafts. The liberal overdraft policy of the bank was available to all depositors . . .
The financial history of the bank reflects the fact that our overdraft policy was not in fact unsafe or unsound. The following information confirms this view:
In 1972 losses charged off on overdrafts totaled only $3,999 - for all accounts combined. This compared to service charge income on deposit accounts totaling $102,562.
In 1973 losses charged off on overdrafts totaled only $5,570 - for all accounts combined. This compared to service charge income on deposit accounts totaling $123,399.
In 1974 losses charged off on overdrafts totaled only $6,409 - for all accounts combined. This compared to service charge income on deposit accounts totaling $249,113.
In 1975 losses charged off on overdrafts totaled only $7,307 - for all accounts combined. This compared to service charge income on deposit accounts totaling $185,000.
In 1976 losses charged off on overdrafts totaled only $5,757 - for all accounts combined. This compared to service charge income on deposit accounts totaling $180,000.
I would add that during that period total deposits averaged more than $47 million.
It is also to be emphasized that all overdrafts attributable to me, my family or any of my relatives which have been widely reported in the press were paid in full. Not one penny was ever charged off as a loss.
I believe our loss experience proved that our overdrafts were not excessive or unusual. Federal bank examiners, nevertheless, criticized the bank's overdraft policy in their reports of examination for the years 1972, 1973 and 1975. It is noted that criticism of this type is not unusual in reports of federal bank examiners.
However, the 1972 report of examination for Calhoun criticized not only overdrafts of directors and officers but also noted that the bank overdraft policies for all customers were extremely lenient. The report further indicates that no charge for overdrafts was generally imposed on any bank customer.
he report of examination for 1973 again noted that the overdraft policy of the bank was lenient for all customers.
The 1974 report of examination did not criticize the bank for its overdrafts. In June of that year the bank adopted a policy to charge interest at 1 1/2 per cent over prime on all accounts which became overdrawn . . .
The period when the liberal overdraft policy of the bank became, in the view of the examiners, excessive, was a time when I was not working on a daily basis at the bank.
I have explained that I headed the State Highway Department from 1971-73 and then from October, 1973, to December 1974, I was campaigning for the gubernatorial race. At the time of the 1975 examination report, I had joined the National Bank of Georgia.
I thus did not supervise the daily status of accounts which were overdrawn. By this discussion, I do not mean to avoid responsibility for what occurred at the bank, but merely to make all circumstances known to the committee.
Following the 1975 report of examination in which bank management was criticized for overdrafts and other policies, the board of directors voluntarily signed an agreement with the office of the comptroller of the currency to undertake various changes in bank operations.
This was not a "cease and desist" order as it has erroneously been called in these hearings. Rather, it was a voluntary agreement by the bank to change certain practices which the comptroller's office had criticized. Improper Influence
Circumstances surrounding the removal of the agreement between the Calhoun First National Bank and the comptroller of the currency as well as the decision by the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta to terminate an investigation into possible violations of law arising out of the financing of my 1974 gubernatorial campaign have given rise to charges in the press that I used my relationship with President Carter to exert improper influences on these decisions . . .
I will first address the issue with respect to the removal of the agreement by the comptroller's office. The Calhoun First National Bank on Dec. 2 1975, entered into an agreement with the comptroller of the currency in which the bank agreed to take certain steps to remedy practices of the bank which had been criticized in examination reports of the comptroller's office . . .
The terms of the agreement provided that the bank was to raise additional capital, hire a new senior lending officer to supplement the existing staff, prohibit overdrafts in excess of 30 days or any overdrafts by me and certain other persons, prohibit participation in any manner in any campaign for political office that might be conducted, and various other requirements.
It is to be noted that agreements of this type between the comptroller's office and national banks were not unusual during that period in which we going through a recession.
Following the signing of the agreement, the bank immediately undertook to comply with all its provisions . . .
In September, 1975, Donald Tarleton was assigned to Atlanta as the regional administrator of the office of the comptroller. I had occasion to meet Mr. Tarleton in the fall of 1975 as a result of his duties as regional administrator. We thereafter maintained a business relationship.
On Nov. 22. 1976, I made a courtesy call to Mr. Tarleton's office to advise him that I had been asked by President Carter to serve in the administration and would be leaving the National Bank of Georgia.
During the course of that meeting we briefly mentioned the greatly improved condition of the Calhoun First National bank and in that context made passing reference to the agreement which had been entered into between the comptroller's office and the Calhoun First National Bank . . .
I did not ask or tell Mr. Tarleton to remove the agreement between the Calhoun First National Bank and the office of the comptroller nor did I suggest or imply in any way that the agreement should be rescinded. Mr. Tarleton's sworn testimony confirms this fact. He stated that "Lance did not on that or any other date request release of the Calhoun agreement" . . .
Following review of the visitation report which was received by Mr. Tarleton on Nov. 2, 1976, and which indicated marked improvement by the bank in areas which had been criticized by examiners, Mr. Tarleton decided the agreement should be removed. Mr. Selby's affidavit confirms Mr. Tarleton's recollection as to these events. Double Pledge of Collateral
When I obtained a loan in 1975 from Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. in the amount of $2,625,000, it was based upon the understanding that the bank would lend me 90 per cent of the purchase price for 148,118 shares of stock of the National Bank of Georgia. The bank noted that it was customary for them to lend 90 per cent of book value in these circumstances. The book value amounted to $17.74 per share.
The following computation reflects the transaction: 148,118 shares of NBG stock at $17.74 per share totals $2,627,613.30. Ninety per cent of that amount or $2,364,851 was the collateral valuation at the time the loan was made.
A collateral shortfall of $260,148.10 thus remained. To cover that shortfall, I pledged 8,375 shares of Calhoun First National Bank stock. I also pledged as collateral certain life insurance policies. Since the book value of Calhoun would not have reflected the stock's true worth as collateral, the bank and I agreed to value the stock at its market rate measured as of the date of its last sale. The stock's market value at the time was approximately $30 per share for a collateral valuation of $259,625.
I signed a secured note for the loan which was held by the bank. No written loan agreement was executed. The bank held total collateral equal at least to the value of the loan.
In December, 1975, I received a stock dividend of 14,657 shares of stock from the National Bank of Georgia. I obtained a loan from Chemical Bank in February, 1976, and pledged as collateral the 14,657 National Bank of Georgia shares I had received. At the time this loan was obtained, the loan from Manufacturers Hanover Trust remained fully collateralized.
In June, 1976, I began to receive requests from Manufacturers Hanover Trust for additional collateral. In accordance with the terms of the note it held, the bank requested a pledge of the NBG stock I had received as a stock dividend . . .
There is an explanation for the bank's request for additional collateral. The loan officers at Manufacturers Hanover Trust unilaterally wished to modify our oral agreement with respect to the valuation of the Calhoun bank stock. They had decided that the value of this collateral should also be computed at book value.
The written memoranda and letters included as exhibits in the comptroller's report reflect only a part of the discussions and understandings reached between the bank and me with respect to this loan. I had numerous telephone conversations with officers of the bank during which I challenged their request for additional collateral. In my opinion, the loan was as fully collateralized as it was when it was obtained a year earlier.
The matter was resolved when I refinanced the loan in January, 1977, with the First National Bank of Chicago. The loan from Manufacturers Hanover Trust was then paid in full. In short, the so-called issue as to "a double pledge of stock" involved a dispute as to collateral adequacy with Manufacturers Hanover. Unfortunately, only the bank's side of that dispute was included in the comptroller's report. Billy Lee Campbell
I have already mentioned the totally irresponsible charge by certain members of this committee that I was involved in an embezzlement scheme at the Calhoun First National Bank during the years 1971 through 1975. To complete the record, I feel it appropriate to add my personal statement regarding this matter.
I met Billy Lee Campbell when I was president of the Calhoun First National Bank. He joined the bank at my request in April, 1968 . . .
In January, 1969, Bill Campbell became a loan officer of the bank. He remained with the bank in that capacity until he was discharged in 1975.
In addition to his work at the bank, Campbell established his own cattle operation. He devoted great time and effort to this venture in an effort to make it profitable. As a result of poor market conditions in 1974, however, Campbell suffered severe cash flow problems.
In February, 1975, after I had joined the National Bank of Georgia, Campbell sought a loan from me of $100,000. He needed the cash to invest in his cattle operation, and he said he intended to pay the loan out of the proceeds of a government-guaranteed disaster loan for which he had made application.
In July, 1975, Campbell again advised me that he was having cash flow problems and asked if the National Bank of Georgia would be willing to increase his loan. In mid-July, the bank lent him an additional $150,000 on a secured basis. This was to be a temporary loan which would be refinanced by the loan from the government. I might add, then as now, that these government-guaranteed loans were extremely hard to finalize.
It is to be noted that during the time in which Mr. Campbell engaged in his unlawful conduct, I was not present at the bank on a daily basis. From December 1970-March 1973, I worked in the State Highway Department of Georgia.Then in October, 1973, I began my campaign for governor of Georgia to which I devoted the majority of my time until December, 1974.
Following the campaign in 1974, I joined the National Bank of Georgia in January, 1975, as president. Although I remained chairman of the Calhoun First National Bank, my daily activitias required me to be present at the National Bank of Georgia.
In the last week of July, 1975, while I was working at the National Bank of Georgia, I received a telephone call from Atkins Henderson, the president of the Calhoun First National Bank. Mr. Henderson said he was concerned about the performance of Mr. Campbell.
Apparently Mr. Campbell had not consulted with Mr. Henderson about making certain loans as required by bank procedures. I said to Mr. Henderson that I would come down and review Mr. Campbell's performance. I studied the loan files carefully and detected what appeared to be certain imprudent loans that he had made.
At this time, I still did not suspect that Mr. Campbell had engaged in any illegal activity, but merely thought he had exercised poor judgment . . .
I started calling some of the people to whom Mr. Campbell had made loans in order to get a better feel for the situation. I continued my investigation and worked late into the night reviewing files and telephoning persons to whom Mr. Campbell indicated he had made loans.
It became increasingly apparent after talking with various borrowers and studying the files that something improper had occurred. I concluded that Mr. Campbell had been embezzling funds from the bank . . .
Following an investigation of this matter by the authorities, Mr. Campbell was arrested and charged with embezzlement to which he entered a plea of guilty. Mr. Campbell's conviction was delayed due to the fact that he suffered from various mental disorders and had to be hospitalized for psychiatric examination for several months.
With the single exception of the man convicted of the crime, all persons connected with this case, including the U.S. attorney who prosecuted it, Mr. Campbell's attorney, and the attorney for the bonding firm, Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company, have unanimously concluded that Mr. Campbell alone had embezzled the funds of the bank.