Subject: Berger Agrees To Pay Penalty
Sandy Berger, the president's national security advisor, has agreed to pay a $23,000 civil penalty to settle conflict of interest allegations stemming from his failure to sell oil stock as ordered by White House officials, the Justice Department announced today.
In January and March of 1994, White House and other government lawyers advised Berger he should divest his ownership of stock in Amoco Corporation because it might create a conflict of interest.
Berger said he planned to sell the stock, but failed to follow up quickly and then simply forgot. He denied knowingly participating in decisions in which he had a financial interest.
Absent any evidence Berger intended to break federal law, Justice officials determined that a civil penalty was an adequate remedy for a "non-willful violation" of the conflict of interest statute.
In a statement released this afternoon, Berger wrote:
"In early 1994, the White House Counsel's office decided that, in view of my responsibilities as Deputy National Security Advisor, I should divest Amoco stock held in trust for my wife and children
"When I was infomed of this, I intended to sell the stock, which was managed by a financial advisor with little involvement from my wife or me. Unfortunately, in the press of other responsibilities, I forgot about the matter entirely. ... I was reminded of my obligation to sell the stock by the White House Counsel's office on or about June 15, 1995, based on their review of my annual disclosure report. I sold the stock immediately.
"I should have sold the stock in 1994 when I was first told to do so. I forget to do this until I was reminded in June 1995. This was a mistake. As a result, and in order to avoid even the appearance of having profited in any way from this oversight, I will pay to the United States Government all earnings from the stock during the relevant period."
In Other News: