WASHINGTON -- Deputy Attorney General Edward Schmults, the No. 2 official in the Justice Department, is leaving to work as general counsel and senior vice president for GTE Corp., the company announced Tuesday.
Schmults, 52, a former Wall Street lawyer, was appointed by President Reagan three years ago to handle day-to-day operations at the Justice Department.
He will begin work at GTE Feb. 6 at the telecommuniations company's headquarters in Stamford, Conn., a company spokesman said.
Schmults has said he was not contacted about the GTE job until October, months after the Justice Department in May 1983 tentatively approved GTE's $750 million purchase of Southern Pacific Co's satellite and long-distance operations, including the 'Sprint' system.
After GTE's initial job contact on Oct. 31, 1983, Schmults said he was 'scrupulously careful' to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and 'didn't have anything to do' with any further Justice Department action involving GTE.
A federal law also prohibits him from representing his new employer before the Justice Department for one year, he said.
Schmults' resignation was announced Monday, the same day the White House confirmed the resignation of Attorney General William French Smith.