The State Department yesterday gave the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a "confidential" financial disclosure statement reportedly showing that special Middle East envoy Philip Habib is drawing income from three companies involved in international projects.
Habib's work for two of the corporations--the Bechtel Group Inc., a construction firm with major business interests in Arab countries, and Pacific Resources Inc., a Hawaii-based energy company engaged in a joint venture with the Kuwait Petroleum Co.--became public last week.
The third company is International Business Government Action Inc. (Interact), a San-Francisco-based concern that reportedly helps finance and develop pulp and paper mills, cement plants and other projects in Southeast Asia. Habib was elected chairman of the board of this 18-month-old firm last September, sources say.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.) asked for a copy of the report last week at the urging of Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), a committee member who has been strongly critical of Habib's continuation on private payrolls while serving as a special U.S. envoy.
A former State Department lawyer, Pressler said yesterday that "there used to be a quite rigid standard saying that you could not collect a private salary" while serving as a special government employe.
Pressler said he felt the State Department was "making a mistake" in not applying that policy to Habib.
"It's just not right, having somone on your letterhead who is a special U.S. ambassador," Pressler said. He said he intends to press the State Department for a clear-cut statement of what its current policy is for special ambassadors.
Government officials at the level of GS-16 and above are required under the Ethics in Government Act to make public financial disclosure statements, but Habib has been reportedly hired as an "expert." Federal personnel statutes limit the salary of experts to the GS-15 level.
As a result, J. Jackson Walter, director of the Office of Government Ethics, said yesterday he has not even seen Habib's diclosure statement. It was filed at the State Department as a confidential document under a 1965 executive order issued by President Johnson.