Frederic Andre, who is under pressure to resign from the Interstate Commerce Commission because of his recent defense of bribery in the trucking industry, had no reported sources of income when President Reagan named him to the commission, according to his federal financial disclosure statement.
Andre described himself as a self-employed consultant, but said he had "no income" from 1980 through June, 1981, when he filed the statement with the Office of Government Ethics. Andre, who had been a consultant since 1977, did not list any income from other sources.
Andre helped arrange his nomination to the $58,000-a-year commissioner's job by knocking on senators' doors to solicit support. Andre's strongest advocate was Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), who has known him since Andre worked in Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign.
In the furor over Andre's remarks about bribery at a commission meeting on Oct. 20, some of the senators who helped him get the job last year, including Republicans Richard G. Lugar and Dan Quayle of Andre's home state of Indiana, have called on him to resign. The incident also has rekindled questions about shortcomings in the Senate confirmation process.
Andre said at the closed commission meeting Oct. 20 that kickbacks in the trucking industry are just "discounts" or "rebates," according to the transcript. He said such bribes are "one of the clearest instance of the free market at work," and that Congress should consider eliminating the ICC's role in enforcing these violations.
Andre, a former trucker, said he had "been ripped off for hundreds of dollars" by people who demanded payoffs for allowing him to load his truck, according to the transcript. "We just cannot pretend as though everybody is honest out there," he told fellow commissioners, "because they are not."
Recently, according to reliable sources, Andre asked the U.S. marshal's office to arrest two top commission officials to halt distribution of a memo on ICC enforcement policy. Andre took the action one morning when he found himself as the ranking commissioner, the sources said, but the attempt ended when a more senior commissioner arrived.
Andre, 49, who maintains a home in Paoli, Ind., has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
In 1979 and 1980, according to Andre's statement, he served as chairman of the Foundation of Law and Society in Alexandria, which is not listed in the Virginia telephone book. He also was a consultant to an unlisted exporting firm in Vienna, a firm that a local representative said never got off the ground.
Andre's statement said he might be receiving "remuneration for past services" from the firm, but the ethics office said he has reported no payments.
Andre, a graudate of Valparaiso Law School, became chief deputy commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles in 1971. He later was a field director for the American Medical Association and executive director of the Medical Liability Commission in Chicago before becoming a consultant in 1977.
He worked as an advance man for the brief presidential effort of Rep. Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.) in 1979, and for Reagan's campaigns in 1976 and 1980. When Reagan was elected, Andre was named to his ICC transition team.
Andre was questioned only briefly at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee in October, 1981.
"If there was ever the right man in the right place at the right time, it would have to be Mr. Frederic N. Andre," said Goldwater, who chaired the hearing.
"Over the years, I have concluded that he shares my opinions, and the opinions of the president, about what the proper role of government should be in the economic affairs of our nation."
A press aide for Goldwater said Andre "asked the senator if he would endorse him, and he did. We felt he was well qualified." She said the subject of trucking bribes never came up, but that Goldwater now plans to discuss the matter with Andre.
Quayle told the hearing in a statement that it was "a pleasure and privilege" to support Andre and that "I am fully confident he merits your unanimous endorsement." Quayle had met Andre when they served under former Indiana governor Edgar Whitcomb.
A spokesman for Quayle said this week, "The senator submitted the statement at the request of Mr. Andre, who camped on the doorsteps of all the Indiana delegation and asked for their support. He was a Hoosier, and it's our custom to say something nice about Hoosiers unless there's some reason not to."
Quayle now says that if Andre's comment on bribery was accurately reported, "Mr. Andre has no choice but to resign."
Lugar had never met Andre until asked to support him for the commission post, a spokesman said. "He was more aggressive than most. It was a very well-organized campaign. We checked with our folks at home for clearance and found no objection, but neither did we find anyone who knew him well."
Lugar now says, "It would be in the best interests of everyone concerned if he stepped down."
Sens. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and John P. East (R-N.C.) submitted a joint letter calling Andre "eminently qualified" to become the new ICC chairman.
Andre's response to written questions from the committee gave only a hint of his views on bribery.
"There may be regulatory activities in which the agency should not be involved," Andre wrote, adding "The commission should give serious consideration to curtailing or eliminating the less important or least cost-efficient ones."