An amery Attorney General Griffin E. Bell announced yesterday tha the was sending the Justice Department's top internal investigating to pittsburgh to find out who has been playing politics" with a controversial nomination of a new U.S. attorney.
Bell called a few conference to denounced New York Times story that suffested he had interferred in an investigating of the top candidate for the job George J. Schumacher.
The story said the unidentified Justice Department officials had complained that Bell and AMichael Eean, his chief patronage aide had improperlydelayed an FBI inquiry into some $60,000 in payments from Schumacher's frim to Rep. Joseph M Gaydos (D-Pa.), who has been pushing Schumacher's nomination.
Bell branded as "falsehoods" statements in the article that suggested he had been under pressure from others to delay Schumacher's nomination. He said he told Schumacher and Gaydos Wednesday that the FBI was continuing the investigation.
"We'd like to be able to finish the investigation," he said. Quoting from the article which said some investigation were scared. Bell added, "I want to have a department where we don't have scared or frustrated employees who feel they have to go to the newspapers."
Bell said his investigation would travel to Pittsburgh to "find out of if there has been some effort on the part of my employees to interfere with the nominating process.
He denied that the aim of the inquiry was to determine who had been talking to the Times' reporter.
The U.S. attorney's slot in Pittsburgh has been a sensitive political issue for months because Bell's deputy, Peter F. Flaherty, had openly favored another candidate. Dan Shapira, Flaherty, the former mayor of Pittsburgh, has announced he is resigning to run for governor of Pennsylvania.
Bell said the Pittsburgh situation was the "worst I've seen" ad far as political battles over a nomination. But he said he had no reason to believe Flaherty was behind the story.
The Times' account said that Schumacher had given the FBI "a maze of conflicting accounts" about the payments to Gaydos. Neither Schumacher Gaydos nor Thomas White, the former partner of Schumacher who reportedly arranged the payments, could be reached for comment yesterday.
Stories about the payments have circulated widely in the Pittsburgh papers in recent weeks, but Gaydos has declined to explain fully the services he performed for the money according to one Pittsburgh reporter.
Bell said yesterday that Gaydos had told him that money was for turning over business after he was elected to Congress in 1968, for legas research and for referring other clients.
Questions about the payments to Gaydos were raised during Schumacher's pre-nomination FBI background check, department officials said yesterday.
Egan, the official who handles all patronage appointments, said in a phone interview that FBI agentns made several supplemental reports on the case as they received new information. But he had labeled "a lie" the assertion in the Times story that his office had discouraged the inquiry.
"Well, we had to tell them the FBI to go out and talk to Gaydos," he said. "Then we still weren't satisfied they'd done a thorough job, so we sent them back to talk to Gaydos again."
An FBI spokesman said yesterday that the Pittsburgh field agents involved in the case reported they never encouraged interference in puhe case reported they never encouraged interference in pursuing the investigation.