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Dukakis Says His Administration Won’t Be Ethical “Hall of Shame″

September 28, 1988 GMT

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Democrat Michael Dukakis, pledging to shut a revolving door between government jobs and private lobbying, derided George Bush on Wednesday for an administration he said was ″a wheel of fortune for future foreign agents.″

Maintaining an aggressive assault on his Republican rival, Dukakis also ridiculed Bush’s new tax-deferred savings plan. Waving a $20 bill to represent the amount an average family would save in a year, he declared, ″George Bush plays Santa Claus to the wealthy and Ebenezer Scrooge to the rest of us.″

Before a large crowd that filled a street at the center of Greensburg in western Pennsylvania, the Democratic presidential nominee sought to link the vice president with allegations of ethical violations and illegality by former offiials of the Reagan administration, and with the lobbying for foreign governments of Bush’s own associates.

″George Bush may be satisfied with this administration’s Hall of Shame - dozens and dozens of top administration officials who broke the law or violated the public trust,″ Dukakis said.

″He may be satisfied with letting Japan make the cars while his former colleagues make the license plates. I say America can do better than that.″

Later, the Massachusetts governor met for an hour in New York with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in a session Dukakis said was ″just a chance to get acquainted.″

Bush met last week with Shevardnadze, who told reporters the vice president had been involved in past high-level U.S.-Soviet meetings.

Dukakis said afterward: ″I made clear to the foreign minister that I was not here to negotiate or discuss specific proposals. We have one president, and I support President Reagan’s effort to move forward on these issues right up to the end of his term of office.″

But Dukakis also said he brought up the plight of Soviet Jews and the pace of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Shevardnadze, asked which of the two candidates he preferred, said diplomatically, ″I’ll tell you after the election.″

Dukakis was meeting later with West German leader Hans Dietrich Genscher and planned a Thursday morning meeting with French leader Francois Mitterand.

In Pennsylvania, Dukakis pledged to sign ″the day I take office″ an executive order toughening restrictions on lobbying by former administration officials. An accompanying statement said he would issue a second order curbing government contacts with former members of Congress ″for some period of time.″

″In a Dukakis administration, we’re not going to turn the White House into a wheel of fortune for future foreign agents,″ Dukakis said. ″In a Dukakis White House, the staff is going to pledge allegiance to only one flag, and that’s Old Glory.″

Bush said last spring that he was ″tired of being embarrassed″ by ethical lapses in government and said he would establish a new ethics panel in the White House if elected to try and ″avoid the excesses of the past.″

He did not go into detail.

Dukakis, in renewing his assault on the administration’s ethical record, cited the lobbying work of a firm whose members include Bush campaign manager Lee Atwater and other campaign advisers.

″George Bush may be satisfied that some of his top campaign aides were hired guns for a Bahamian government whose leaders are under investigation for drug activity. I say America can do better than that,″ he said.

Dukakis aides outlined an ″integrity in government initiative″ that Dukakis said he would sign as president. It said top officials of a Dukakis White House would be barred from any lobbying efforts for the duration of the Dukakis administration, regardless of when they left their government jobs.

Aides said that would extend current ethics act prohibitions on lobbying, which range from one to three years after leaving office depending on the type of lobbying activity. They said it would also extend the prohibition on lobbying by former White House officials to include lobbying of any executive branch agency.

A description prepared by the campaign said it would eliminate regulations of the Reagan administration which divided the executive office of the president into nine components, a move that allowed former offiials of one component to immediately lobby officials in another component after leaving government. The statement called this arrangement an ″artificial division″ and ″the Deaver loophole,″ a reference to convicted former Reagan aide Michael Deaver.

″As a result of this loophole, Michael Deaver could only be charged with perjury,″ the statement said.

Dukakis aides handed out printed sheets listing 64 former administration officials that it said ″were convicted, forced to resign or misused their office for personal gain.″ The list, however, included some people who were later cleared and some, such as James Watt, who resigned after getting into political hot water. He was not accused of ethics violations.