From: Gene Randall/CNN
Subject: Teamsters witnesses tell Congress about pressure to give to Carey
A U.S. House Oversight Subcommittee began hearings Tuesday into last year's election for the Teamsters Presidency with witnesses taking turns to level charges of Ron Carey campaign coercion.
"There was an unspoken message that if any staff person did not contribute, they would be unemployed after a Carey victory," said Teamsters organizer Barbara Dusina.
"In 1995, I received a call suggesting I donate $100," said Teamsters International Representative Vincent Hickman.
"The entire organizing staff of six to eight people was doing nothing but campaigning for President Carey," Teamsters International Rep. Wesley Coleman said.
Subcommittee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said the evidence of the intricate and illegal flow of Teamster funds into the Carey re-election campaign was "nothing short of mind boggling, if not bizarre."
"One could easily dismiss these press reports as fantasy, had three individuals not pled guilty of participating in these very schemes," Hoekstra said.
Attempting to dispel the notion that they had stacked the witness list, the Republicans also called witnesses that defended a reformed Teamsters union.
"There was an atmosphere of darkness in the union that is gone now, and that is an enormous achievement," said Attorney Thomas Geoghegan.
The former federal overseer who ruled Carey's election invalid was scheduled to testify before the subcommittee on Wednesday.
Teamsters members unhappy that they were not allowed to testify at congressional hearings held a news conference Tuesday to defend union reforms and activities since the election of President Ron Carey.
"We have a process in place to investigate corruption in this union and this process has shown it can clean up corruption in the Teamsters Union," said Jim Caruthers, a car hauler who is a member of Detroit Local 299.
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Tuesday Oct. 14, 1997
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