Teamsters battle overshadows AFL-CIO convention
Carey says Hoffa contributions should be investigated
September 23, 1997
Web posted at: 2:28 p.m. EDT (1428 GMT)
In this story:
PITTSBURGH (CNN) -- Teamsters union President Ron Carey
repeated Tuesday that the campaign fund-raising scheme for
which he is being investigated was kept hidden from him by
trusted aides with whom he had little contact.
"If there is a victim here, I certainly am the victim,"
Carey told reporters in Pittsburgh, where he's attending the
Carey's narrow 1996 win over rival James Hoffa for the
presidency of the largest AFL-CIO union was nullified last
month by a court-appointed overseer because of illegal
|Teamsters union President Ron Carey speaks about campaign contributions:
257K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
While the Teamsters president was not linked to the scheme,
the election overseer is to decide before October 6 whether
Carey should be disqualified from an election rerun.
Last week Carey's former campaign manager, Jere Nash,
campaign consultant Martin Davis and Massachusetts
telemarketing consultant Michael Ansara pleaded guilty in
New York to federal charges stemming from the scheme in
which funds from the Teamsters union and employers were
illegally diverted into Carey's campaign coffers.
Carey said he spoke to Davis only about five times in his
life and Nash about 20 times.
Carey: Hoffa had 'organized crime' backing
He also said the campaign finances of Hoffa, whose father
led the union in the 1950s and 1960s, should be investigated,
adding that he believed the younger Hoffa had raised money
from organized crime sources.
The Hoffa campaign had $1.8 million in contributions it said
came from unspecified small contributors -- donations under
$100 that didn't have to be itemized. Asked where he thought
Hoffa's money came from, Carey replied: "Employers and
organized crime. There's no question."
Carey also referred to grand jury investigations of Teamsters
locals and pension funds in Detroit and Chicago that are
allied with Hoffa, suggesting that the alleged
misappropriation of funds could have benefited Hoffa.
A spokesman for Hoffa, Richard Leebove, told CNN, "We won't
dignify what Carey said by having Jim respond."
AFL-CIO involvement also being probed
The fund-raising controversy extends to the AFL-CIO itself,
a confederation of 78 labor unions, including the Teamsters.
A federal grand jury in New York is investigating allegations
that AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Rich Trumka, using the
liberal consumer group Citizen Action, funneled $150,000 in
Teamsters money into the Carey campaign.
Trumka has declined comment, but AFL-CIO President John
Sweeney says the federation is not a target of the
investigation. "We may have been part of a conspiracy
scheme, but we have no knowledge of that," Sweeney told CNN.
(80K/7 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
The Teamsters election controversy threatens to dominate the
convention at a time when the AFL-CIO says union membership
numbers are creeping up after decades of decline.
The gathering opened on Monday with a strong feeling of union
momentum but also with significant fear among some
convention-goers that the scandal could slow it down.
Correspondent Gary Tuchman and Reuters contributed to this report.