Two more Republican prosecutors due to be replaced by the Carter administration told Attorney General Griffin B. Bell yesterday about active criminal investigations involving Pennsylvania politicians.
U.S. Attorneys Blair Griffith of Pittsburgh and John Cottone of Scranton, were called to Washington to report personally to Bell as a safeguard against a repetition of the controversy surrounding the dismissal of David W. Marston, the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia.
Marston was ousted after a congressman now under investigation by his office called President Carter and asked that a new prosecutor be named quickly. Marston said he told a Justice Department superior about the sequence of events but the word was never passed on to Bell.
Both Griffith and Cottone said after the closed-door meetings with Bell that they discussed several pending criminal cases involving public figures.
They declined to discuss specifics. It is known, however, that Cottone's office is involved in a grand jury investigation of the financing of Pennsylvania Gov. Milton Shapp's short-lived race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. The Federal Election Commission found that Shapp's campaign didn't qualify properly for some $300,000 in federal matching funds.
Griffith said he reported on about 15 cases, most of them involving suspected public corruption. Asked if any of them involved Western Pennsylvania members of Congress, he replied, "I'd prefer not to answer that."
Meanwhile, Bell released the names of five possible replacements for Marston, and Republican leaders called for a special Senate investigation of his firing.
Recommended by a special panel of Philadelphia lawyers, all five have agreed to serve if asked, a Justice Department spokesman said last night. It could not be learned if any of the five were on the list that Bell had asked the lawyers to study when they started their search. The five:
Samuel Dash, chief counsel of the Senate's Watergate committee, who sharply criticized last year the Pennsylvania Legislature's decision to cut off funding for a special state prosecutor who was investigating public corruption in Philadelphia; that experience added to the public uproar over Marston's dismissal.
David N. Savitt, a local Philadelphia judge and former state legislator, who ruled in 1976 that it was legal to recall Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo.
Charles H. Rogovin, a law professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, who was head of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration in the early 1970s.
Lynne M. Abraham, another local judge and former executive director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority: she was fired in 1974 at Rizzo's urging.
J. Clayton Undercofler III, now an attorney in private practice who, while Marston's predecessor in 1976, set up the public corruption unit that later led to convictions of several Democratic officeholders.
Bell is known to want to pick a permanent successor to Marston as soon as possible to reassure the public in Philadelphia that Marston's investigations will continue unimpeded.
In a related development, Republican Sens. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania and Howard Baker of Tennessee introduced a resolution that would create a special Senate committee to investigate Marston's dismissal.
Schweiker, Marston's one-time boss, said the committee would investigate possible obstruction of justice by Bell and President Carter.
The other two Pennsylvania prosecutors said yesterday they expected to be replaced by the Carter administration and had no major complaints.
Unless Marston, Griffith said he did not feel his pending investigations would be hampered as long as his successor "does the job."
Replacing the U.S. attorneys in Pennsylvania has been especially vexing because it has no Democratic senators to recommend nominees, and its House Democrats could not readily reach agreement on nominees.
In Pittsburgh, for example, controversy already has arisen about Griffith's successor. House Democrats picked one local attorney over the choice of Pete Flaberty, then Bell's deputy. That candidate, George Schumacher, was hurt by later allegations that his firm had paid $60,000 to one of his congressional backers.
Griffith said yesterday that Bell would have to fire rim if Schumacher was finally nominated. But a department source said later that Schumacher's candidacy was dead and a search was under way for another Pittsburgh nominee.