Attorney general may face financial probe

The Justice Department is conducting a preliminary inquiry into whether or not to investigate Attorney General William French Smith's finances, congressional sources said.

At issue is Mr. Smith's acceptance of a $50,000 severance fee voted by the board of directors of the Earle M. Jorgensen Company in January 1981, as he left the board to join the administration.

After he reported it in his financial disclosure statement to the government, Smith announced May 28 he had returned it to the Jorgensen firm.

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