Dyson denies making call to lobbyist

October 19, 1990|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- Representative Roy P. Dyson, D-Md.-1st, denied yesterday calling the home of a defense lobbyist convicted in the Pentagon probe case -- even though a federal affidavit released last week cites FBI wiretaps of the congressman making at least one such call.

The 39-page affidavit names Mr. Dyson as one of a number of officials who called the Long Island, N.Y., home of Charles F. Gardner, a Unisys Corp. official and consultant who was convicted last year of bribing Pentagon officials and making illegal campaign contributions.

Asked yesterday why he would call Mr. Gardner at home, Mr. Dyson said: "I never did." The congressman, attending a news conference on the Chesapeake Bay at the Capitol, refused to answer any other questions about the affidavit and strode away, flanked by aides.

According to the affidavit, U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman authorized on Feb. 1, 1988, the wiretaps of Mr. Dyson and at least 16 other officials calling "telephones located at Gardner's residence." It did not include any specific information on the calls made by the congressman.

At one point, the affidavit said Mr. Gardner "has close contacts" with Mr. Dyson, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, as well as the late Representative William Chappell Jr., D-Fla., chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense.

During 1987 and 1988, Mr. Dyson's campaign collected about $34,000 in donations from Mr. Gardner and other officials with ties to Unisys, although prosecutors said there was no indication that the congressman was aware the money was tainted. He later returned $18,000 in 1981 donations from Unisys officials.

The affidavit shows that Mr. Dyson had a closer working relationship with the consultants than he previously disclosed. At one point, according to the affidavit, wiretaps record Mr. Dyson calling two other defense consultants -- one of whom was also convicted in the Pentagon procurement scandal -- and saying that an amendment for a radar system they were pushing before his committee "passed and everything's OK."

Christopher Robinson, the congressman's campaign manager, said last week that such calls were "not unusual" and that Mr. Dyson often contacts others concerned with legislation.

The consultants also are quoted in the affidavit as planning New York trips and campaign lunches of $1,000 per plate for Mr. Dyson, whom they predict will "call the shots" on their defense project "as he did before."

Meanwhile yesterday, the congressman canceled a debate last night with GOP opponent Wayne T. Gilchrest at Elkton High School, explaining through a spokesman that he would have to stay at the Capitol for House votes.

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