Guide to Federal Records

Records of Independent Counsels


(Record Group 449)
1970-94 (bulk 1979-89)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 449.1 Administrative History
  • 449.2 Records of the Office of Special Prosecutor Arthur H. Cristy Relating to the Investigation of Hamilton Jordan 1979-80
  • 449.3 Records of the Office of Special Prosecutor Gerald J. Gallinghouse Relating to the Investigation of Timothy E. Kraft 1980-82
  • 449.4 Records of the Office of Independent Counsel (Formerly Special Prosecutor) Leon Silverman Relating to Investigations of Raymond J. Donovan 1976-89 (bulk 1981-82, 1985-89)
    • 449.4.1 Records relating to the 1981-82 investigation ("original investigation")
    • 449.4.2 Records relating to the 1985-87 investigation
  • 449.5 Records of the Office of Independent Counsel Jacob A. Stein Relating to the Investigation of Edwin Meese III 1984
  • 449.6 Records of the Office of Independent Counsel Whitney North Seymour, Jr., Relating to the Investigation of Michael K. Deaver 1981-89 (bulk 1986-89)
  • 449.7 Records of the Offices of Independent Counsels James C. Mc Kay and Alexia Morrison Relating to the Investigation of Theodore B. Olson 1986-88
  • 449.8 Records of the Office of Independent Counsel James C. Mc Kay Relating to Investigations of Franklyn C. (Lyn) Nofziger and Edwin Meese III 1970-89 (bulk 1987-89)
  • 449.9 Records of Other Independent Counsels 1981-94
  • 449.10 Sound Recordings (General)
  • 449.11 Still Pictures (General)

449.1 Administrative History

Established: Position of independent counsel, by the Ethics in Government Act Amendments of 1982 (96 Stat. 2039), January 3, 1983. Reauthorized for five years by the Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act of 1987 (101 Stat. 1293), December 15, 1987. Lapsed, December 15, 1992, by failure of reauthorization. Reauthorized for five years by the Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act of 1994 (108 Stat. 732), June 30, 1994. Act expired June 30, 1999.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Special Prosecutors (1978-82)

Functions: Investigated, and either dismissed or prosecuted, allegations of violations of federal criminal law, above the misdemeanor level, by individuals holding or formerly holding certain high positions in the Federal Government and in national Presidential election campaign organizations.

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records: Records of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, RG 460.

Top of Page

449.2 Records of the Office of Special Prosecutor Arthur H.
Cristy Relating to the Investigation of Hamilton Jordan
1979-80

History: Position of special prosecutor (SP) established by Title VI of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (92 Stat. 1867), October 26, 1978, which provided for appointment of a SP, upon application of the Attorney General, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (hereafter, "court"). By same act, SP authorized to engage a staff and required to act within prosecutorial bounds set by court. SP tenure to terminate upon submission of a final report to court containing SP's determination of case. SP redesignated independent counsel by the Ethics in Government Act Amendments of 1982, January 3, 1983. SEE 449.1.

Application for appointment of a SP filed, November 19, 1979, by Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti. Arthur H. Cristy appointed SP, November 29, 1979, with responsibility for investigating allegations of cocaine use in 1978 by Hamilton Jordan, while serving as Assistant to the President. Evidence compiled by Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) presented to grand jury, which reported insufficient evidence for an indictment and voted a no true bill, May 21, 1980. OSP terminated following submission of final report to court conveying SP's determination not to prosecute, May 28, 1980.

Textual Records: OSP general correspondence, 1979-80. OSP investigative records, consisting of subject files, 1979-80; summaries of interviews conducted by staff, 1979-80; and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents' reports, 1979-80. Grand jury records, including subpoenas, depositions, transcripts of testimony, and exhibits, 1979-80. SP final report, May 28, 1980. Microfilm copy of selected documents from the investigation and the grand jury proceedings, 1979-80 (4 rolls).

Top of Page

449.3 Records of the Office of Special Prosecutor Gerald J.
Gallinghouse Relating to the Investigation of Timothy E. Kraft
1980-82

History: For an administrative history of the position of special prosecutor (SP), SEE 449.2. Application for appointment of a SP filed, August 26, 1980, by Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti. Gerald J. Gallinghouse appointed SP, September 9, 1980, with responsibility for investigating allegations of cocaine possession and use in 1978 by Timothy E. Kraft, while serving as Special Assistant to the President for Appointments. Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) investigation delayed until conclusion of Presidential election, November 4, 1980; further delayed pending outcome of a civil suit initiated by Kraft, November 19, 1980, challenging constitutionality of SP provisions of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. By agreement reached February 5, 1980, between SP and attorneys for Kraft, OSP investigation allowed to proceed. Motion to dismiss Kraft civil suit, filed jointly by SP and attorneys for Kraft, granted, March 24, 1981. OSP ceased to function following submission of a letter to court, March 25, 1981, conveying SP's determination that evidence against Kraft was insufficient to merit prosecution or further investigation. OSP officially terminated following submission to court of SP final report, January 15, 1982, accompanied by a confidential memorandum discussing evidence compiled during investigation.

Textual Records: OSP correspondence, 1980-82. News clippings, 1980. Court documents concerning appointment of SP and Kraft civil suit, 1980-81. SP final report (without accompanying confidential memorandum), January 15, 1982.

Top of Page

449.4 Records of the Office of Independent Counsel (Formerly
Special Prosecutor) Leon Silverman Relating to Investigations of
Raymond J. Donovan
1976-89 (bulk 1981-82, 1985-89)

Top of Page

449.4.1 Records relating to the 1981-82 investigation ("original
investigation")

History: Application for appointment of a special prosecutor (SP) filed, December 23, 1981, by Attorney General William French Smith. Leon Silverman appointed SP, December 29, 1981, with responsibility for investigating allegation that Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan, while employed as Executive Vice President of Schiavone Construction Company, was present when another official of the company made an illegal cash payment to a union representative in May or June 1977. Evidence relating to that allegation, and to 40 additional allegations, compiled by Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and presented to grand jury, which reported insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution and voted a no true bill, June 8, 18, and 22, 1982. SP report to court, conveying his determination not to prosecute, submitted June 25, 1982. Subsequent allegations investigated by OSP and dismissed. OSP terminated following submission of SP supplemental report to court, September 10, 1982.

Textual Records: OSP subject files, 1981-82. OSP administrative files, 1981-82. Official files of Assistant SP Gregory P.N. Joseph, consisting of files on witnesses, 1981-82; and files on persons making allegations, 1981-82. Official files of other OSP staff members, 1981-82. FBI agents' reports and related records, 1981-82. Records compiled by the Departments of Justice and Labor, and made available to OSP, 1981-82. Documents submitted to and issued by the court, 1981-82. Grand jury records, including subpoenas, minutes, transcripts of testimony, exhibits, and stenographers' notes, with an index to witness appearances, 1981- 82.

Sound Recordings: Examples of Donovan's voice, and his conversations with various individuals, 1982 (21 items). SEE ALSO 449.10.

Photographs: FBI photographs of surveillance activities and individuals under investigation, and photographic materials used in preparing grand jury exhibits, 1979-82 (1,000 images).

Top of Page

449.4.2 Records relating to the 1985-87 investigation

History: Application for an independent counsel (IC) filed, May 23, 1985, by Deputy Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen. Leon Silverman appointed IC, June 11, 1985, with responsibility for investigating allegation that Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan gave false testimony, May 11, 1982, to grand jury empaneled in the original investigation (SEE 449.4.1). Start of investigation delayed by court until resolution of a New York State case involving Donovan; IC instructed to proceed with investigation, June 3, 1987, following Donovan's acquittal in that case. Evidence compiled by Office of Independent Counsel (OIC) presented to grand jury, which reported insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution and voted a no true bill, October 13, 1987. OIC terminated following submission of final report to court, October 22, 1987, conveying IC's determination not to prosecute.

Textual Records: Records relating to the Department of Justice preliminary investigation, 1985. OIC investigative records, consisting mainly of copies of documents obtained from various business firms involved in the investigation, 1976-81. OIC general correspondence, 1985-89. Grand jury records, including subpoenas, transcripts of testimony, exhibits, and attorneys' notes, 1987. Court records relating to the administration of the investigation, including Donovan's fee applications and OIC's financial statements, 1985-89.

Top of Page

449.5 Records of the Office of Independent Counsel Jacob A. Stein
Relating to the Investigation of Edwin Meese III
1984

History: Application for appointment of an independent counsel (IC) filed, March 24, 1984, by Attorney General William French Smith. Jacob A. Stein appointed IC, April 2, 1984, with responsibility for investigating allegations of illegal financial transactions involving Edwin Meese III, while serving as Attorney General. Office of Independent Counsel (OIC) terminated following submission of final report to court, September 24, 1984, conveying IC's determination not to prosecute.

Textual Records: Grand jury testimony and exhibits, 1984. Subpoenaed financial records, 1984. Transcripts of interviews conducted by OIC staff and FBI agents, with their accompanying notes, 1984. Material received by OIC from the White House, 1984. Records relating to each of the 11 inquiries conducted by OIC, 1984. Letters, with accompanying document copies, received by OIC from the office of Leonard Garment, attorney for Meese, 1984. Miscellaneous OIC records, 1984. OIC final report, September 24, 1984. Microfilm copy of selected documents from the investigation and the grand jury proceedings, 1984 (24 rolls).

Top of Page

449.6 Records of the Office of Independent Counsel Whitney North
Seymour, Jr., Relating to the Investigation of Michael K. Deaver
1981-89 (bulk 1986-89)

History: Application for appointment of an independent counsel (IC) filed, pursuant to a request from five U.S. Senators, by Deputy Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen, May 22, 1986. Whitney North Seymour, Jr., appointed IC, May 29, 1986, with responsibility for investigating allegations of illegal lobbying by Michael K. Deaver, former Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House Office and Assistant to the President. Supplemental order issued by court, December 16, 1986, authorizing IC to investigate and prosecute related matters. Deaver indicted by grand jury, March 18, 1987, on charges of perjured testimony, given May 16, 1986, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Dingell Subcommittee) of the House Committee on Commerce and Energy; and of false testimony to grand jury, given June 20, 1986. Civil suit against IC initiated by Deaver, February 25, 1987; dismissed as premature, March 11, 1987. Deaver convicted of perjury and false testimony, December 16, 1987; and sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment (later changed to 3 years' probation with community service) and a $100,000 fine. OIC terminated following IC's final report to court, June 23, 1989.

Textual Records: OIC general correspondence, 1985-87. OIC reading files, 1987-89. FBI agents' reports, 1986-87. Copies of documents provided by the Dingell Subcommittee, 1986-87. Documents and exhibits files, 1985-87, with a name and subject index, 1986-87. Transcripts of grand jury testimony, 1986-87. Transcripts of testimony and related records of the Deaver civil suit against IC, 1987. Records relating to the Deaver criminal trial, including transcripts of testimony, exhibits, and records concerning Deaver's sentencing, 1986-89. News clippings, 1981-89.

Sound Recordings: Grand jury proceedings, 1986-87 (127 items). SEE ALSO 449.10.

Top of Page

449.7 Records of the Offices of Independent Counsels James C. Mc
Kay and Alexia Morrison Relating to the Investigation of Theodore
B. Olson
1986-88

History: Application for appointment of independent counsel (IC) filed, April 10, 1986, by Attorney General Edwin Meese III. James C. McKay appointed IC, April 23, 1986, with responsibility for investigating allegation that Theodore B. Olson, while serving as Assistant Attorney General, gave false testimony, March 10, 1983, to the Subcommittee on Monopolies and Commercial Law of the House Judiciary Committee during its investigation of Department of Justice (DOJ) conduct in a prior (1982-83) Congressional investigation involving enforcement, by Environmental Protection Agency and DOJ, of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 ("Superfund Law," 94 Stat. 2767), December 11, 1980. Following resignation of McKay, May 29, 1986, Alexia Morrison appointed IC, same day, with same jurisdiction. At IC recommendation, Olson subpoenaed by grand jury to produce documents, May 22, 1987. Civil suit to quash IC investigation initiated by Olson, June 9, 1987, on grounds that Ethics in Government Act of 1978 was unconstitutional. Motion to quash denied, and constitutionality of act upheld, by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, July 20, 1987. Decision reversed by U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, January 22, 1988; and reversed again by U.S. Supreme Court, June 29, 1988. Subpoenaed documents provided by Olson, July 12, 1988. OIC terminated following submission of final report to court, December 27, 1988, conveying IC's determination not to prosecute.

Textual Records: OIC general correspondence, 1986-88. OIC staff members' official files, 1986-88. Master document file, 1986-88. Records relating to grand jury proceedings, 1986-88. Working files of an FBI special agent assisting OIC with aspects of the investigation, ca. 1986-88.

Top of Page

449.8 Records of the Office of Independent Counsel James C. Mc
Kay Relating to Investigations of Franklyn C. (Lyn) Nofziger and
Edwin Meese III
1970-89 (bulk 1987-89)

History: Application for appointment of independent counsel (IC) filed, January 6, 1987, by Acting Attorney General Arnold L. Burns. James C. McKay appointed IC, February 2, 1987, with responsibility for investigating allegations of illegal lobbying by Franklyn C. (Lyn) Nofziger, formerly Assistant to the President for Political Affairs. IC's jurisdiction expanded by court, May 11, 1987, to include investigation of various financial and business dealings of Attorney General Edwin Meese III. OIC investigation of Meese concluded with report to court, July 5, 1988, conveying IC's determination not to prosecute. Nofziger, with his associate, Mark A. Bragg, indicted by grand jury on illegal lobbying charges, July 16, 1987. Nofziger convicted and Bragg acquitted, February 12, 1988. Nofziger conviction overturned, June 27, 1989. OIC terminated following Supreme Court's refusal to reinstate the conviction, December 11, 1989, and IC's announcement, December 12, 1989, that no further attempt would be made to prosecute the case.

Textual Records: OIC subject files relating to the investigation, 1981-88. OIC general correspondence, 1987-88. OIC administrative memorandums, 1987-89. OIC staff members' official files, 1980-88. Master chronological file of documents, 1974-87. Summaries of and notes on interviews of potential witnesses, 1987-88. Security- classified and unclassified grand jury records, including transcripts of testimony and exhibits, 1987-88; a document collection, 1970-88; and administrative records, 1987-88. Records relating to criminal proceedings against Nofziger and Bragg, consisting of official trial documents and attorneys' files, 1987-88. IC final report (July 5, 1988), with related records, 1988-89.

Sound Recordings: Grand jury proceedings, 1987-88 (188 items). SEE ALSO 449.10.

Top of Page

449.9 Records of Other Independent Counsels
1981-94

Textual Records: Records of Independent Counsel Arlin M. Adams, 1981-92. Records of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, 1986-94. Records of Independent Counsel Joseph DiGenova, n.d.

Top of Page

449.10 Sound Recordings (General)

See Under 449.4.1, 449.6, and 449.8.

Top of Page

449.11 Still Pictures (General)

SEE Photographs Under 449.4.1.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


Top of Page

Guide to Federal Records >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

.