WASHINGTON -- Caspar Weinberger Jr., the defense secretary's son, was given a pay raise of nearly $5,000 without 'justification' and ran up an $800 taxi tab while working for the U.S. Information Agency, the director said Tuesday.
Agency chief Charles Wick said both the pay raise and payment of the cab fares were approved by his former deputy, Gilbert Robinson, who resigned last month to work as special adviser for public diplomacy at the State Department.
Phyllis Kaminsky, Weinberger's immediate supervisor in the USIA's New York office, did not recommend him for the $4,800 pay increase and rejected the bill for the taxi fares, Wick said.
Wick documented the facts about the 36-year-old son of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in written responses released Tuesday to questions asked by Sen. Edward Zorisnky, D-Neb.
Zorinsky launched an inquiry after reading newspaper accounts of USIA's hiring of relatives and friends of high administration officials.
In a statement released in response to Zorinksy's announcement Tuesday, Wick said, 'We ... welcome the senator's recognition that we are 'willing to take steps to correct' management problems at this agency.
'I've investigated all allegations of impropriety or management abuses as they have been brought to my attention.' he said. 'As I stated in my letter to the senator, The issues you have raised are important ones. They will be a great help to the USIA management and myself in ensuring that we protect against lapses in procedures, judgement and ethical standards.'
A United Press International story disclosed the USIA had hired Barbara Haig, daughter of former Secretary of State Alexander Haig; Monica Clark, daughter of National Security Council head William Clark; and Anne Collins, a friend of the Clark family, among others.
Wick said paid internships or temporary jobs also were given in 1982 to relatives of Robert McFarlane of the National Security Council, David Gergen of the White House, E. Pendleton James, then at the White House, Assistant Secretary of State James Malone and Assistant Secretary of the Interior Pedro Sanjuan.
The younger Weinberger, who was making more than $50,000 when he resigned last month, citing a spate of publicity about his job, was hired in 1981 to handle public liaison in New York City on the recommendation of Robinson and with Wick's approval.
But Wick said he did not know about the merit raise until he read about it in newspapers, nearly seven months after the fact.
'There was no justification in my opinion,' Wick said.
Robinson last week said he gave Weinberger an 'outstanding' rating without realizing it would automatically trigger the 10.3 percent maximum raise, Wick said.
'He states had it been brought to his attention his signature would produce a merit raise of that size, he feels sure he would have pulled the document out for discussion,' the director said.
Wick said Robinson bypassed Mrs. Kaminsky in New York because Weinberger had been transferred, on paper, to the Office of the Director.
But Mrs. Kaminsky, Wick said, 'states that Mr. Robinson never told her that Mr. Weinberger Jr.'s status was different than that of other people she supervised.' Robinson did not routinely approve expenses of people not actually in his office.
Wick also said from Jan. 6 until June 13, 1982, Weinberger ran up $843 in taxi fares -- a sum Mrs. Kaminsky considered 'improper' and she refused to sign the claims for reimbursement.
Wick said Robinson approved the expense accounts, saying, 'It was necessary for him to get around New York quite a bit to perform his duties.