Ex-Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters president Ron Carey pled not guilty Feb. 1 to federal criminal charges that he knowingly participated in a complex scheme to funnel more than $538,000 in union funds to his failed 1996 reelection campaign. Carey was indicted Jan. 25 on seven counts of perjury and making false statements in connection with the probe of the money-laundering scandal, an action long urged by Carey’s IBT rivals and watchdogs, such as the Nat’l Legal & Policy Ctr. Prosecutors alleged that Carey lied when he denied knowledge of a swap of IBT contributions to various groups in return for their arranging for donations to his campaign. Upon arraignment before a federal magistrate judge, Carey was released on his own recognizance.
Carey’s campaign manager, Jere Nash, and two consultants, Martin Davis and Michael Ansara, were the first defendants in the scandal to plead guilty to criminal charges way back in Sept. 1997. Although they have cooperated with the government, they have yet to be sentenced.
“Finally! Ron Carey was indicted. It was very, very late but better than never.” NLPC President Peter Flaherty said. “However, the timing is suspect. If Al Gore had won the election, would Carey still have been indicted? One would hope so. But U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White’s record in this case does not build confidence. After a quick round of guilty pleas in 1997, the probe has dragged terribly. This delay has not in the interest of justice. It has allowed individuals who might have been under an indictment cloud to participate in the political process when the taint of corruption should have relegated them to the sidelines. I refer to AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and AFSCME’s Gerald McEntee and Paul Booth — all of whom have been implicated in the Carey scandal and campaigned tirelessly for Gore and other Democrats in 1998 and 2000.”
Flaherty added, “Trumka, should be next on White’s (or her replacement’s) list. Despite Trumka twice invoking the Fifth Amendment to avoid federal investigators’ questions, the case against him is strong. According to court records, Trumka helped launder $150,000 from the Teamsters’ treasury through the AFL-CIO for the benefit of the Carey campaign. Additionally, Trumka allegedly solicited and/or contributed $50,000 to the Carey campaign in violation of federal labor law. The prosecution of ex-Teamsters official William Hamilton was extremely damning for Trumka. For example, it revealed that one of the key meetings that helped facilitate the $150,000 transaction allegedly took place in Trumka’s AFL-CIO office with him present. Yet, White and the Dep’t of Justice have failed to indict Trumka. With the end of the Clinton-Gore Adminstration and the protection it appears to have provided, Trumka’s time is now.”
Carey’s attorney Reid Weingarten, when asked by the Bureau of Nat’l Affairs whether he saw any connection between the timing of the indictment and the change in presidential administrations, said, “We’re going to look at [that during] discovery.”
The evidence cited in the indictment is almost identical to the findings made by a court-appointed Indep. Review Bd. in its 1998 order expelling Carey from IBT. Carey’s appeal of the district court decision upholding his expulsion is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Arguments in the case were held Jan. 22.
Also on Jan. 22, the Second Circuit affirmed the Mar. 2000 criminal conviction of Hamilton for his role in the scheme. Of the six people convicted for their roles in the scheme, only Hamilton pled not guilty. Hamilton’s attorney, Barry A. Bohrer, plans to file a petition for rehearing in the case. Hamilton remains free on bail pending the outcome of his appeal. [BNA 02/02/01]