The House ethics committee is nearing a vote on financial misconduct charges -- including alleged payroll padding and kickbacks, and conversion of campaign funds -- against Rep. Charles H. Wilson (D-Calif.).
Sources familiar with the investigation said that formal charges in the case may be filed Wednesday. Exact details could not be learned yesterday, but the expected multicount statement will charge Wilson with a payroll kickback scheme involving two California businessmen who were listed on Wilson's staff in the mid-1970s, sources said. Charges that the 62-year-old congressman converted compaign funds to his personal use also are expected.
The Justice Department also is examining the possible kickback arrangement for potential criminal charges, sources there said yesterday.
Wilson, a nine-term member from suburban Los Angles, was reprimanded by the House a year ago for failing to report a cash gift he accepted from accused South Korean lobbyist Tongsun Park.
The new investigation is left over from that House inquiry into Wilson's finances, sources said. Last January, when the special Korean investigation staff left the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, as the ethics committee is formaly known, the investigators turned over questions about Wilson's dealings with Lee Rogers and Dan Hurd, who were listed as members of his personal staff in the early and mid-'70s.
The investigators also left behind evidence of nearly $200,000 in cash deposits they found in Wilson's bank accounts between 1970 and 1977, according to sources.
House payroll records show that Rogers, who is president of Los Angeles mail order house called the American Holiday Association, received nearly $50,000 as a Wilson staff member between 1971 and 1976.
Hurd, a former employe of Electronic Plating Sercive of Gardena, Calif., who died a few years ago, is listed as receiving more than $13,000 from Wilson's payroll account in 1975.
That same year, Hurd and his employer, Terry Matthews, were each listed as $1,000 contributors to Wilson's reelection campaign.
Sources familiar with the House and Justice Department investigations said yesterday that there is evidence that Rogers, Hurd and Matthews passed money back to Wilson.
Neither Rogers nor Matthew could be reached for comment yesterday.
One ethics committee source said a vote on the Wilson charges was set for the committee's meeting last Wednesday, but was delayed at the request of Wilson's attorney. The matter is now expected to be taken up again at this Wednesday's meeting.
Under committee procedures, a statement of alleged violations of House rules is similar to a grand jury indictment. Wilson would then have an opportunity to defend himself at a public hearing before the committee votes whether to find him guilty of the charges. The full House would then have to vote on any penalty -- reprimand, censure or explusion -- recommended by the committee.
The kickback allegations are similar to those cited in the case against Rep. Charles C. Diggs Jr. (D-Mich.). Diggs was convicted in federal court here and sentenced to three years in prison, and censured by the House for his payroll violations.
Diggs easily won reelection last year, as did Wilson after the Korean related reprimand. CAPTION: Picture, REP. CHARLES H. WILSON . . . financial misconduct alleged