Former White House political director Lyn Nofziger, a longtime adviser to President Reagan, has told associates he expects to be indicted today on charges stemming from his lobbying on behalf of Wedtech Corp. after leaving the administration, informed sources said yesterday.
Nofziger has told the associates he also expects his business partner, Mark Bragg, to be charged, the sources said. Independent counsel James C. McKay has scheduled a news conference for this morning to unveil the indictment, the sources said, which was apparently returned yesterday by a federal grand jury.
In addition to the Wedtech charges, Nofziger told the associates he also expects to be indicted for his lobbying efforts on behalf of Fairchild Industries Inc., a Chantilly, Va., defense contractor that was attempting to persuade the Air Force to extend contracts for the A10 aircraft.
Attorney Robert Plotkin, who represents Nofziger, said he could not comment. A spokesman for McKay also refused comment.
If indicted, Nofziger would become the second of Reagan's close circle of political advisers from his earliest campaigns to face corruption charges stemming from lobbying activities after Reagan was elected president. Former deputy White House chief of staff Michael K. Deaver is battling separate perjury charges resulting from statements he made about his lobbying activities after leaving the White House. Deaver and Nofziger both had worked for Reagan for more than two decades.
McKay was named early this year to probe Nofziger's lobbying activities for Wedtech and several other concerns in 1982, shortly after he left his job at the White House. Federal law prohibits a government official from lobbying his former office for a year after leaving government.
In June, the Justice Department asked McKay to expand the investigation to include any possible impropriety by Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who served as counselor to the president from 1981 to 1985.
Sources have said previously that McKay's investigation has focused in part on Nofziger's role in efforts in 1982 by Wedtech, a Bronx-based defense contractor, to obtain a $32 million no-bid Army contract for small engines. The probe has focused on how Nofziger left the White House in January 1982 and then contacted White House officials in May 1982 on behalf of the Wedtech contract.
Specifically, investigators have examined efforts by Nofziger four months after he left the White House to set up a meeting on the Wedtech contract in the office of James Jenkins, who was then a top aide to Meese. The Defense Department dropped its objections to the Wedtech contract following the May 1982 meeting in Jenkins' White House office. Jenkins later became a consultant to Wedtech and in 1986 was placed in charge of the company's Washington office.
Wedtech was awarded the contract under the Small Business Administration's minority set-aside program in September 1982.
Meese has acknowledged that he interceded on behalf of Wedtech in 1982 after receiving a series of If indicted, Nofziger would be the second of President Reagan's advisers to face such charges.
memos from San Francisco lawyer E. Bob Wallach, a friend then associated with Wedtech. Wallach has said he received $1 million from Wedtech in retainers and stock profits from 1983 through 1986.
Meese has said he ordered a review of the company's complaints to make sure it got a "fair hearing." In 1985, at Wallach's suggestion, Meese liquidated his family stock holdings, worth about $60,000, and invested the money with W. Franklin Chinn, a San Francisco businessman who was then a Wedtech consultant, and became a company director later that year. Meese said recently he has dissolved the "limited blind partnership" with Chinn.
On Fairchild, sources have said McKay has been looking into Nofziger's lobbying for the defense contractor in 1982. The sources said Nofziger was brought in on Fairchild's behalf by Washington lawyer Stanton Anderson, who had been hired by Fairchild. Sources have said Anderson is cooperating with the grand jury. The sources also have quoted Nofziger as saying he relied on Anderson's legal advice in getting involved in the matter.
A Republican source said Nofziger asked that his name be dropped this week from a list of supporters of former senator Paul Laxalt's presidential campaign, apparently in anticipation of the indictment.
Staff writers Mary Thornton and Lou Cannon contributed to this report.