South Carolina Parade Still Facing Scrutiny

Corruption still hangs over last year’s event, but union organizers say a complaint over funding won’t stop this year’s Labor Day parade in Georgetown County, S.C. Sec’y of State Jim Miles recently said his office will soon decide whether the Georgetown County Labor Council violated S.C.’s Charitable Funds Act when it received tax funds to hold the 2000 parade. In 2000, the County Council voted give GCLC $3,000 to hold the parade and “labor rally.” “When one solicits from the public, the reason for the solicitations must be correct, one must not misrepresent. That is an issue…we looking at,” said Miles.

In response to a complaint from County Council Member Tom L. Swatzel, Miles’ office issued a notice of violation  that GCLC failed to register with the office as a charitable organization. The violation was reportedly due to GCLC’s solicitation of employers and individuals to support GCLC’s parade but were told to make their checks out to Steelworkers of Am. Local 7898. Lead organizer James Sanderson is president both of Local 7898 and GCLC. These checks were deposited in a bank account opened nearly two months after the solicitations were made. The name on the account was “USWA Labor Day Fund.” Further, the County Council’s $3,000 to GCLC was deposited in the USWA account. While GCLC later registered with the state, Local 7898 has never registered as a charitable entity. Swatzel believes the Act would not allow a union to register as a charitable organization. Thus, GCLC never received any of solicited funds, and Local 7898 may have wrongfully obtained these charitable donations. [Coastal Observer (Pawleys Island, S.C.) 8/16/01]

“Mary Jo White, U.S. attorney in Manhattan, [has not] showed much stomach for taking down [Ron] Carey. Some involved in the congressional probe [of the Teamsters] say White, a Clinton appointee, was a hindrance, turning over key documents only under congressional subpoena. Richard Trumka, the AFL-CIO, secretary/treasurer, was never indicted. He refused to appear before the congressional committee. When questioned by a federal elections officer, in grand gangster tradition, he took the fifth. Carey was indicted only after Clinton left office, and no one from the DNC was charged. The statute of limitations is about to expire, and the Bush administration has yet to replace White.”

– Columnist Nolan Finley, Detroit News, Aug. 12, commenting on the sorry federal probe into the 1996 Teamsters money-laundering scandal.