Lawyers Claim Packwood Changed Diary Recordings

SEN. Bob Packwood altered diary tape recordings subpoenaed by the Ethics Committee, Senate lawyers said Tuesday in a request that a federal court immediately seize the materials.

He also used government money and campaign funds to pay former secretary Cathy Cormack to transcribe tape recordings of diary entries, attorneys said in papers filed in United States District Court. Tapes were altered after the committee began its probe of Mr. Packwood (R) of Oregon, Senate lawyers said.

The Justice Department has also subpoenaed Packwood's diaries for its criminal investigation.

The Ethics Committee subpoenaed all diary materials dating to 1989 and asked a federal court to intervene when Packwood did not comply. A court hearing is set for today. The committee is probing allegations that Packwood made unwanted sexual advances to numerous women, including Senate staff, and tried to intimidate some witnesses.

While he initially supplied diary entries from 1969-88, the committee subpoenaed diary materials after finding an entry related to a lobbyist's job offer to Packwood's wife.

The legal papers said tapes were transcribed by Ms. Cormack. She told the committee Dec. 10 that Packwood ``had altered diary tapes that he had provided to her for transcription.'' He ``took back some tapes in my possession which I had not yet transcribed. [Later], it appeared to me that he may have made some revisions to those tapes. Subsequently, he confirmed that he had.''

Ethics Committee counsel Victor Baird said in a written declaration to the court: ``New information available to the committee confirms that both government and campaign resources were used to transcribe Senator Packwood's diaries. The funds that Senator Packwood used to compensate Ms. Cormack for transcribing his diaries were legally available for the payment only of expenses incurred for official governmental purposes,'' his filing said. ``Under federal election campaign laws, campaign funds may not be converted to personal use.''

Between 1981 and 1983, Cormack got $2,400 a year from Packwood's office funds to transcribe diaries. Since 1983, she was paid from his campaign funds for this purpose.

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