The FBI has expanded its invesitgation of alleged cocaine use by White House chief of staff Hamilton Jordan after receiving a charge that Jordan was seen sniffing cocaine at a party in Beverly Hills in October 1977, according to sources.
The new charge was made in the last few days by a person who attended the party at the home of Leo Wyler, an aerospace executive who was finance chairman of the Carter campaign in California in 1976, the sources said.
Under provisions of the new Ethics in Government Act, the Justice Department must investigate any specific criminal allegation against highranking government officials. The investigation started a few weeks ago when two indicted owners of New York's Studio 54 disco alleged that Jordan used cocaine there last year.
The person who made the latest charge against Jordan did not claim to see the White House aide use cocaine, but named another person who allegedly did, the sources said.
Justice Department and FBI spokesmen refused to comment on the incident last night. White House press secretary Jody Powell said, "That story was floating around a year or so ago and has been denied by everyone involved. Some papers checked it out then but didn't publish because they couldn't substantiate the charge.
"Now, because someone apparently made some general allegation to the FBI, they are forced by the new law to investigate and you guys [in the press] feel compelled to write about it."
Powell said Jordan stands by his blanket denial that he ever used cocaine. "This is just not the way the system ought to work," the White House spokesman said. "Someone who is innocent has no protection from innuendo and smear. And once it's done it becomes almost impossible to erase the mark."
Wyler said in a phone interview from his office yesterday that it was his feeling that cocaine was being used at the party but that he didn't see Jordan use it.
"I was very displeased with what seemed to be going on," he said. Wyler, 57, the head of Tre Corp., said Jordan asked him if he and some of the White House staff could come over "to relax" after a $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser that President Carter attended Oct. 22, 1977, in Los Angeles. Wyler said he had already invited some aides of California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. to his home.
He said that Jordan, Tim Kraft, who is also a White House aide, pollster Pat Caddell, and a Jordan friend, John (Billy Peaches) Golden, and "a lot of DNC [Democratic National Committee] people descended [on his house] with a bunch of women."
Although a fund-raising official for Carter in 1976, Wyler early this year joined a dump-Carter movement in California called Democrats for Change.
Wyler said several people -- he said he could not recall who -- asked him repeatedly, "Do you want a hit?"
There was disappearances into various parts of the house," Wyler recalled.
Mickey Chung, a longtime business associate of Wyler's, said last week in an interview that people at the party "spent a lot of time in the bathroom." Chung said he believed cocaine was used, but that he did not go into the bathrooms. "I don't need that stuff."
Wyler said he believed the party lasted about two hours.
Wyler said he recalled that "this type of behavior was strictly in the Carter group. He said Brown's group had kept to themselves.
Kraft, who left the White House last month to become Carter's 1980 reelection campaign manager, last night seconded Jordan in denying there was any cocaine used at the party. "It was one of the duller parties I've been to," he said. "We drank some wine in the kitchen and left."
Kraft said he questioned Wyler's motive in describing apparent drug use at the party because "he's a strident political opponent of ours." He added that he thought the new ethics law should be tightened because "it's a license to defame. It's only September 1979. Can you imagine what someone is going to charge a week before the convention or a primary? It's ridiculous."