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Federal File: Phillips Nomination; Oliver Agriculture; Feted in Washington

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Susan E. Phillips, whose brother, Howard, is president of the Conservative Caucus, was recently nominated by President Reagan to serve as director of the Institute of Museum Services.

The institute, which distributes about $20 million annually in grants to musuems, zoos, arboretums, and aquariums, was formerly a division of the Education Department. In December 1981, the Congress transformed it into an independent agency.

Ms. Phillips gained notoriety last year when she was identified by the editors of the Conservative Digest as a principal source for a series of articles, entitled "How Washington Funds the Left," that appeared in the magazine's April 1982 issue.

One of the articles criticized as "anti-Reagan" several organizations that received federal education grants.

Ms. Phillips is currently serving as the Education Department's acting director of intergovernmental and interagency services. She was hired as a consultant by the department in May 1982 to examine the way it awards grants and contracts.

Prior to that, she served as director of research and publications for the Conservative Caucus, a lobbying group based in suburban Washington. The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee was scheduled to act on her nomination last week.

Daniel Oliver, the former general counsel of the Education Department who was recently "detailed" briefly to the White House staff, has been designated by the President to be general counsel to the Agriculture Department.

Mr. Oliver, a former editor of National Review, the conservative monthly magazine, was reportedly fired by Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell for criticizing the Secretary's policies among senior White House aides, according to sources within the Education Department. A spokesman for the general counsel's office at the Agriculture Department said that Mr. Oliver has begun working in the office in an unofficial capacity, pending his confirmation by the Senate.

President Reagan brought the representatives of the 152 winners of Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell's School Recognition Program to the White House late last month to thank them for their good work.

With the sun shining, a band playing, and the television cameras rolling, each school official filed up to the podium on the South Lawn to shake hands with the Secretary and receive a 4-by-6-foot "flag of excellence."

Other activities during the officials' day-long visit to Washington included morning and afternoon panel discussions and a luncheon address by Secretary Bell. The morning session dealt with the report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education; in the afternoon, the topic was "The National In Education."

The theme of the day's events was "America Can Do It."--tm & tt

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