After more than two years of deliberations, a federal grand jury meeting in New York has closed its investigation into possible campaign finance violations by former Democratic National Committee chairman John C. White without an indictment.
The grand jury had been looking into charges that White was offered a $1 million campaign contribution in return for using his influence in the Carter administration to help the Libyan government obtain American airplanes.
Prosecutor Raymond A. Levites said yesterday that Stuart F. Pierson, White's lawyer, has been informed that "the investigation of his client by this office has been terminated." But he said the grand jury is continuing its investigation into the Libyan affair.
The charge against White originally came from James C. Day, a Texas political acquaintance, who received a four-year prison sentence about a year ago for his part in a scheme to persuade the Libyan government that he could bribe top Carter administration officials to release eight C130 aircraft that the Libyans had paid for.
The planes had not been delivered because Libya is classified as a terrorist nation. The Libyans had also expressed interest in obtaining civilian airplanes, which Day was also working on.
In a court hearing in Denver on an unrelated matter last April, Day testified that he had told White in the spring of 1979, "John, if you will help me on this thing and if I get it done, you've got my commitment you'll have $1 million for your governor's race." He testified that White responded, "That's absolutely fantastic. That's great."
White, who appeared twice before the grand jury, has acknowledged that Day talked to him about a contribution, but that there was no discussion of $1 million and no mention of Libya.
White has also acknowledged making calls to the State Department to inquire about the status of the planes Libya was seeking and attending a meeting with Day and the Libyan ambassador on the Hotel Washington rooftop. The meeting was secretly photographed by the FBI.
Pierson said that White had considered the phone calls and the meeting an "insignificant courtesy" toward another Texan. He added that Day was active in Texas politics and was someone that White would not want to antagonize.
When he entered his guilty plea last year, Day conceded that he had misrepresented to the Libyans White's involvement in the matter. In fact, the government charged that Day had arranged for a man to impersonate White during a meeting with fugitive financier Robert Vesco.
White served as agriculture secretary in Texas for 27 years before he came to Washington as deputy secretary of agriculture and then as chairman of the DNC during the Carter administration. He resigned after Carter's defeat.