Hoffa Discusses Hamilton Trial

Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters president, James P. Hoffa, appear Dec. 4 on CNN’s “Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields.” His discussion included the William W. Hamilton union corruption trial.

NOVAK: Mary Jo White, the U.S. Attorney in New York, has just won a conviction of the former political director of the Teamsters, William Hamilton, under a previous administration, on this deal where they were swapping money in between the Democratic National Committee and the Teamsters illegally. Do you believe, Mr. Hoffa, that the U.S. attorney should extend this investigation to an indictment of the AFL-CIO Secretary-treasurer Richard Trumka?

HOFFA: Well I’m not saying who should be indicted, but I would certainly say this, that I urge the U.S. attorney in New York to pursue all avenues. There are a number of loose ends. I understand the testimony at the Hamilton case opened up all kinds of new evidence that I didn’t know about, that the government certainly knows, and there could be further prosecutions. And I think that they should pursue it. I’m not going to name names, but…

NOVAK: You won’t name — you won’t name any names, like the president’s fundraiser Terence McAuliffe?

HOFFA: I’m not naming any names, but I’m telling that — I would urge the U.S. attorney to pursue all avenues. If there are people that should be prosecuted for stealing money from the Teamsters, they should do it. I also want to tell you, Bob, that we’re going to bring a RICO case and a civil rights case — civil action against these different people to recover the money.

NOVAK: Trumka?

HOFFA: Well we haven’t figured out who we’re going to name, but we will name a number of people to get this money back into the treasury because it is the members’ money that’s been taken and it will be returned to the treasury.

NOVAK: Do you think Trumka, who has taken the Fifth Amendment, should be required to resign as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO?

HOFFA: Well you know, I’m not going to say whether he should or not. That’s a decision the board has to make, the AFL-CIO has to make. And that’s not a decision that we’re making here today.

NOVAK: Do you believe, sir, that there was a conspiracy between the Clinton White House and the previous administration — the Ron Carey administration at the Teamsters — to keep you out of office?

HOFFA: Well, I would say this, that there were ballots stolen in the first election in 1996, and the people running the election did everything they could to make sure that I didn’t get elected. I did not have a level playing field. And as it was, we came within 25,000 votes of winning that election. And guess what? Twenty-five thousand votes mysteriously disappeared when we counted the ballots. That couldn’t have been done by any — just somebody walking off the street. These were supposedly government people. And I think that there was a certain sympatico there because they were comfortable with Ron Carey.

HUNT: So you think the Clinton White House was involved in that?

HOFFA: Well, I don’t know the details of it, but I certainly think that the government — I’ll talk about the government, the people who ran the election — tilted towards my opponent and did everything they could to try and make sure that he won. We had an unbelievable campaign and we finally won, and we knew that the Carey people had done illegal things using union money, and we were able to bring that up, get a rerun election, and then we won an overwhelming victory in 1998.