As Lobbyist, Kennedy Did Free Work

Posted: December 03, 1987

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Supreme Court nominee Anthony M. Kennedy provided free legal services to a member of the California Legislature while working as a lobbyist at the state capitol here, according to the legislator.

Joseph A. Gonsalves, a Democrat, said that during the time he served in the state Assembly from 1963 to 1974, Kennedy represented him in a legal matter in Southern California, the details of which he declined to discuss.

He added that Kennedy lobbied him on several occasions, but he declined to say when the lobbying occurred or what the issues were.

Gonsalves served on committees handling legislation of importance to Kennedy's corporate clients, who included a liquor distiller, an opticians' organization and a record company.

Gonsalves did not suggest that Kennedy did anything illegal or provided the legal services in expectation of getting anything in return. He called Kennedy "as square a shooter, the nicest guy you've ever met."

"The whole experience with Tony Kennedy was beautiful," he said.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee investigators have been looking into any possible ethical implications of Kennedy's activities as a lobbyist before he became a federal appeals court judge.

Kennedy has not been granting any interviews before the hearings on his nomination begin Dec. 14. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful. ''He's not responding to any reporters," Kennedy's secretary, Katherine Nolan, said late yesterday.

Records show that Kennedy did not report his free legal services as a gift to Gonsalves in his annual filings with California authorities. It is unclear whether state law at the time required him to do so.

California law during Kennedy's tenure as a lobbyist called for disclosure of expenditures of "anything of value" by a legislative advocate "in carrying on his work."

The question is whether Kennedy's law work for Gonsalves could have been construed as "carrying on his work" as a lobbyist, said Robert M. Stern, an attorney in Los Angeles who specializes in political law.

"It's not clear under the old law," said Stern, who helped draft a sweeping 1974 change of the law affecting the activities of the state's lobbyists and politicians.

"He represented me in L.A.," Gonsalves said, referring to Kennedy. "He flew down with me (from Sacramento) three times."

Asked if he paid Kennedy for his services, Gonsalves said no.

"He didn't want any fee from me," said Gonsalves, who has been a lobbyist himself since 1975. "All I remember paying him was for his airfare to fly to L.A."

Gonsalves, who was chairman of two legislative committees during his 12- year tenure, said he could not recall the exact year that Kennedy performed the legal services for him.

He was not the only legislator who received free services from Kennedy's law and lobbying firm, according to Lawrence E. Walsh, a Democratic member of the state Senate from 1967 to 1974.

Walsh, a former chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, recalled in an interview that Kennedy contributed to at least one of his campaigns and used to lobby him on legislation. Walsh said that when he needed legal advice on a grand jury matter in 1970, Kennedy referred him to his law partner, H. Herbert Jackson.

Walsh said the firm of Evans, Jackson & Kennedy did not charge him for Jackson's advice.

Walsh said he needed the advice because he had defied a judge's order not to discuss his grand jury testimony about a controversial campaign contribution to a Senate colleague.

"Herb Jackson advised me how to apologize to the court," Walsh said.

Records show that Walsh was a member of two legislative committees whose activities could have affected Kennedy's clients.

One was the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, which had jurisdiction over the liquor industry, including a Kennedy client, Schenley Industries Inc. The other was the Senate Business and Professions Committee, which considered legislation affecting the opticians' group represented by Kennedy.

Gordon D. Shaber, dean of the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento and a close friend of Kennedy's, said he believed the law did not require a lawyer- lobbyist to report non-cash gifts made to a legislator.

Kennedy took over his father's lobbying and law business in 1963 and left it when President Gerald R. Ford named him a federal appeals judge in 1975.

In addition to voting on bills on the Assembly floor, Gonsalves was in a position to have an effect on Kennedy's lobbying clients because of his committee assignments.

Gonsalves was chairman of the Assembly Rules Committee from 1967 to 1968, and headed the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee from 1972 to 1974.

Kennedy has disclosed to a congressional committee considering his Supreme Court nomination that in 1974 his "primary activity" on behalf of Capitol Records was to "draft legislation . . . concerning the sales tax applicable to master records," from which mass copies are made for retail sales.

Gonsalves also was a member, from 1973 through 1974, of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, a panel that writes much of the state's law affecting the liquor, wine and beer industries.

In an interview two weeks ago, Hugh Evans, one of Kennedy's former law partners, said the firm represented one or two legislators as a result of Kennedy's lobbying work. But he said that "they paid us."

Neither Evans nor Jackson could be reached yesterday for comment about Kennedy's association with Gonsalves.

Both Gonsalves and Walsh were important legislators in the 1960s and early 1970s, partly because committee chairmen were far more powerful under the Legislature's rules of that era. Chairmen then could pass or kill a bill regardless of the wishes of the panel's majority.

"If a lobbyist got pretty close to a committee chairman" in those days, Gonsalves said, "he was in pretty good shape."

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