FBI Probes California Union Consultant

An ongoing FBI investigation into city government corruption in Richmond, Cal., includes union consultant Darrell Reese’s role in alleged payoffs to city leaders in exchange for their votes on various deals during the past seven years, according to city leaders interviewed by federal agents.  Reese is the political consultant for the Int’l Ass’n of Fire Fighters Local 188 in Richmond. After he was subpoenaed, Reese called the FBI investigation part of a “political war.”

The firefighters union played key roles in financing the campaigns of candidates backed by Reese, according to campaign records. The union’s political action committee has reported a campaign war chest of more than $64,000, including $27,000 in loans from three firefighters. [S.F. Chron. & Contra Costa Times 10/29/99]

But this election day was not very kind to Reese.  Winning four of the five contested City Council seats, opponents of Darrell Reese said the election was a road wreck for the political consultant. Opponents cited the FBI political corruption probe as one reason why Reese candidates won only one spot on the City Council.

“I’m glad to see most of the Reese-backed candidates weren’t successful,” said incumbent City Councilman Tom Butt. [S.F. Chron. 11/4/99]

Union Soft Money Update
In the latest soft money reports, one of America’s most corrupt unions — the Am. Fed’n of  State, County & Mun. Employees — made huge payments to Democratic Party committees, according to Public Disclosure, Inc. On Sep. 23, AFSCME gave $100,000 to the Dem. Sen. Campaign Committee.

DSCC also received money from two other unions on Sep. 30. Transport Workers Union of Am. gave DSCC $35,000 and the Sheet Metal Workers PAC gave $25,000.

“In an administration rife with ethically challenged officials, Harold Ickes has consistently been at the top of the list. He initially lost out on an administration job over allegations linking him to mob-controlled labor unions. He was also connected to Arthur Coia, long-serving president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America and heavy Democratic contributor. Earlier this month, [news leaked that] Coia, identified by the FBI as an organized-crime associate, [may plead guilty] on fraud charges — conveniently avoiding a trial at which Ickes and other administration officials would likely have faced some embarrassing questions.

Despite his role at the center of the now-notorious 1996 Clinton-Gore fund-raising apparatus, Ickes was spared a full-scale independent counsel investigation when Janet Reno, America’s “hear no evil, see no evil” attorney general, declined to authorize a probe into charges that Ickes lied to Congress about his role in helping the Teamsters while the union was a potential hot source of campaign cash.

With Harold Ickes in charge, ‘Clinton for Senate’ is bound to be as sleazy and corrupt as the Clinton White House.”
[Editorial, N.Y. Post 11/2/99]