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Please Note: The largest amount of material for this topic guide is the Counsel to the President: Investigations collection. The series on the investigations of Lyn Nofziger/Ed Meese, which is the relevant material regarding Wedtech, is currently being arranged by the Library. Please see an archivist regarding access to this collection.

Scope Note

On February 2, 1987, Independent Counsel James C. McKay was appointed to investigate allegations that Franklyn (Lyn) Nofziger had violated the Ethics in Government Act by lobbying former Administration colleagues on behalf of various clients before legally allowed. This Act forbids former White House employees from lobbying members of the administration until a full year has elapsed since their departure. One of the clients named in the Independent Counsel appointment was the Wedtech Corporation, a New York City-based firm formerly known as Welbilt Electronic Die Corporation.

Prior to the appointment of the Independent Counsel, United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, New York (Rudy Guiliani) had an ongoing criminal investigation of the Wedtech/Welbilt Corporation. Guiliani alledged Wedtech had been over-billing the federal government on various military and SBA contracts. There was also a question of misrepresenting themselves as a “minority” owned business through fraudulent stock certificates and questions about payments of bribes to various officials.

In the continuing course of the investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Independent Counsel, ethical and legal issues were raised about the conduct of Attorney General Edwin Meese III. Investigators focused on E. Robert Wallach, a personal friend of Attorney General Edwin Meese III, and his relationship to Wedtech. Wallach was paid over $1.5 million by Wedtech for what he claimed were legal fees and advice. Since no documentation of this legal advice could be found, the U.S. Attorney’s office viewed it as influence peddling and bribes for access to Mr Meese’s “eyes and ears.” Subsequently, in May 1987, the Independent Counsel’s investigation was broadened to include allegations of Meese’s possible illegal involvement with Wedtech via Wallach.

Crucial witnesses refused to testify for Independent Counsel McKay, all pleading their fifth amendment rights. McKay had no inclination to grant them immunity as this would interfere with the U.S. Attorney’s case. As McKay reported, “It was the considered judgment of the Independent Counsel and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York that continuation of the New York “Wedtech” investigation best served the ends of justice.

The Wedtech investigations conducted by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and eventually the New York City District Attorney’s office led to the criminal convictions of several people in the New York area. These included Wedtech’s leaders, some local politicians, and two U.S. Congressmen – on racketeering and other charges. The White House continued to be involved with this on-going investigation providing documents and depositions of White House staff.

Last Updated: 06/20/2021 01:33AM

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