Executive branch officials have "evaded" a request, made secretly two weeks ago by Senate leaders, for a list of documents provided to the White House by the FBI on all Reagan appointees confirmed last year by the Senate, a leadership aide said yesterday.
The request was made in the wake of the recent investigation of Labor Secretary Raymond J. Donovan and came July 1 at a closed meeting of Senate leaders with FBI director William H. Webster and Attorney General William French Smith.
Several senators were concerned about revelations that, during last year's confirmation procedings, the FBI had turned over to the White House, but withheld from the Senate, information concerning Donovan's possible ties to underworld figures.
The investigation found no support for the charges against Donovan, but the Senate is still considering legislation governing the process by which top officials are confirmed.
"We want to find out whether the Donovan memo was an isolated case," the aide said. "What we are doing seems to be striking some raw nerves. But we intend to keep pressing until they either turn over what they have or state publically that they don't intend to turn it over."
Senate Minority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.) yesterday sent letters to Webster and to President Reagan urging that they respond to the Senate request, the aide said.
The requested material reportedly covers about 50 appointees in executive levels I and II.
The only administration response has come from Kenneth Duberstein, the White House congressional liaison, the aide said. That reply noted that all material on Donovan has been turned over to appropriate Senate committees and will also be supplied to Byrd.
As for the non-Donovan documents, "Duberstein's reply said no such material was being sent, but it didn't say it did not exist," the aide said.