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The Carey Campaign Investigations
Last Updated
November 30, 1997

The Ron Carey Campaign Investigations 

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    The Teamsters began their second government-supervised Convention on July 15, 1996 in Philadelphia. Ron Carey,  first elected as General President in 1991, sought a second term. Also running was James Hoffa, a Teamsters labor lawyer and son of Jimmy Hoffa.  

    A majority of Convention delegates (all elected by local union members) favored Hoffa for the General Presidency. In a straw vote, Hoffa out polled Carey 954 votes to 775. Direct rank-and-file voting was scheduled to begin in November.  

    Most observers thought the Carey campaign was in deep trouble after the Convention. When Carey won the election with 51.5 percent of the vote, Hoffa cried foul. As a result of investigations now underway by the Department of Justice and the Election Officer, it is known that Carey received more than $500,000 in illegal campaign contributions between the dates of the Convention and the membership vote. Some of the money was funnelled from the treasury of the Teamsters Union; more was given to the Carey campaign by employers and Carey's AFL-CIO allies. 

    News in 1996

    News in 1997, January through August

    News in 1997, September to Present

    September 3:Teamsters join with Association of Trial Lawyers, Citizen Action, and National Council of Senior Citizens ("NCSC") in defying subpoenas from Senate subcommittee investigating campaign fundraising scandals. All are represented by ACLU. Ron Carey OK'ed $85,000 check to NCSC on October 24, 1996. (EO Decision, 74-75).

    September 11: In letter to Election Appeals Master Kenneth Conboy, Election Officer says she is again considering Ron Carey's disqualification from rerun election. EO Quindel seeks postponement of September 15 hearing set to consider appeals of her decision overturning election. Quindel cites "certain information" given to her by Hoffa, as well as access to "certain relevant witnesses" who have cooperated in New York grand jury probe. New York Times, quoting officials in Carey camp, indicates that one of the witnesses Quindell will interview is "contribution swap scheme" mastermind Martin Davis.

    September 18: In separate court appearances, Martin Davis, Jere Nash and Michael Ansara plead guilty to felony charges AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumkathat they conspired to funnel Teamsters union funds to Carey campaign. Nash admits to delivering $25,000 in cash collected from unnamed officials of other unions to Carey campaign. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka also implicated: the criminal complaint charges that Teamsters union paid the AFL-CIO $150,000 which Trumka passed to Citizen Action. In return, Citizen Action allegedly paid $100,000 to Davis to fund eleventh hour anti-Hoffa hit mailings to Teamsters membership.

    • NOTE: IBT employees Rick Blaylock and Ed Burke, who (as Nash told Carey lawyers) allegedly held cash from other union officials for Carey campaign, previously worked for Trumka at United Mineworkers Union.

    September 18: In press release, U.S. Attorney describes charges against Davis, Nash and Ansara. Included are new claims that Nash and Davis agreed with a DNC and Clinton/Gore official to locate large donor for Carey campaign in exhange for IBT donations to Democratic committees, and hid cash "raised by officials of various labor unions for the Carey campaign." Davis and Ansara allegedly devised a "two-for-one" scheme in which, for every dollar solicited by an unnamed wealthy fundraiser, "the IBT would contribute several dollars to organizations chosen by the donors." The charges against the three allege that IBT Government Affairs Director William Hamilton actively participated in the fundraising scams.

    • NOTE: U.S. Attorney says DNC identified a "foreign citizen" willing to donate $100,000 to Carey campaign; Carey lawyers allegedly nixed the deal "because she was an employer," according to the charges.
    • NOTE: In the press release U.S. Attorney says her investigation is continuing, indicating that more indictments can be expected.

    September 22: AFL-CIO President John Sweeney states that the labor federation's $150,000 contribution to Citizen Action (which came from the IBT treasury, and was allegedly passed to Martin Davis for the Carey campaign) was not "intended for any internal union election." Richard Trumka, appearing with Sweeney, declined comment on his alleged role: "Everything that's been said about that, can be said about that, has been said about that, and as you know it would be totally inappropriate to comment any further on that," he said in response to questions.

    September 23: Election Officer Zack Quindel resigns. In her letter to Judge Edelstein, Quindel says she learned, in her interview of Martin Davis the day after his guilty plea, that he proposed a "contribution swap" to the head of the Wisconsin branch of the New Party, a political party with which her husband (a Milwaukee politician), is publicly aligned. According to Quindel's letter, the deal was pitched in "January or February of 1997," after Quindel began her investigation. (EO Decision, p. 62). Davis also told Quindel that he asked for and received an illegal $20,000 contribution from a labor consultant who is a "professional associate" of an investigator working for Quindel. The consultant is later revealed to be Theodore Kheel, a New York labor lawyer and mediator.

    • NOTE: Quindel earlier refused to recuse self when Hoffa's lawyer advised U.S. Attorney that Teamsters, in April, 1997, donated $5,000 to The New Party. At the time, Quindel also admitted Roger Quindel's position as a Boardmember of Wisconsin Citizen Action.

    • NOTE: Ron Carey, speaking publicly on the burgeoning scandal for the first time, states: "If there is a victim here, I certainly am the victim." Carey blames his handlers, three of whom are cooperating in the probes, for his predicament: "You hire people that you trust, that you have confidence in, people who have the ability to get the job done," he says. "They devised a scheme certainly to rip off this union, rip me off in terms of my credibility and you can't control people."

    September 27: New York Times reports that aides to Ron Carey have told prosecutors, and the Election Officer, that Carey "had general knowledge" of what the Election Officer has termed the "contribution swap schemes," in which IBT money was sent to various groups in return for donations to the Carey campaign.

    • NOTE: Carey's criminal lawyer, Reid Weingarten, says he doesn't think the charges are true. "Quindel expressly said she had no knowledge of his wrongdoing, and we have been told expressly by the U.S. attorney's office that he's not a target." Weingarten, a former prosecutor, represented former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, and currently represents Mike Espy, now under indictment for allegedly taking favors while serving as Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton administration.

    September 29: Judge overseeing IBT under consent decree names former Manhattan U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Conboy to replace Zack Quindel. Conboy, the "Election Appeals Master" previously charged with reviewing Zack Quindel's decisions, will decide whether Carey should be disqualified for the fund raising schemes from which his campaign benefitted.

    • NOTE: Without waiting for ruling on Carey's eligibility, Court sets rerun election dates. Previously nominated candidates must declare intention to rerun by October 24. Ballots will be mailed January 9, 1998 and the vote count will begin February 6. Court denies Hoffa request to allow candidates to switch slates, writing that this would create "a window of opportunity for harassment, coercion, intimidation, threats, or other 'strong arm' tactics."

    October 1: Ron Carey spends nearly three hours testifying before federal grand jury investigating his reelection campaign. During a break, Carey "indignantly told the Associated Press that [campaign manager Jere] Nash had not made him aware of any aspect" of the schemes to use Teamster donations to Citizen Action as a way to generate cash for the Carey campaign.

    October 9: In Thompson committee hearings, DNC fundraiser Mark Thomann says he was pressured by Carey campaign lawyer Nathaniel Charny to deliver large individual donor for Carey campaign. Thomann was directed to Philippine citizen Judith Vasquez as potential $100,000 donor, but rejected her when he learned she was an "employer." According to Thomann, Charny repeatedly demanded "where's the money?"

    October 9: In senate hearings former DNC finance director Richard Sullivan says Martin Davis told him that if the DNC located a donor for Carey campaign, Davis "could arrange the possibility of that person to [sic] having lunch with Ron Carey in which Ron Carey could explain his vision, his plans, his expectations and his hopes of being reelected as president of IBT."

    October 13: The New Republic magazine, in editorial, calls for Ron Carey's resignation.

    October 15: Three IBT employees tell congressional subcommittee (chaired by Congressman Pete Hoekstra) that they were pressured to make donations to Carey campaign. Chicago truck driver Dane Passo testifies that Chicago Local 705 president (and key Carey ally) Gerald Zero brutally beat him yet, despite being convicted of battery, held his Union job.

    • NOTE: Gregory Mullenholz, fired from his post as IBT employee in July, testifies that he (and Aaron Belk, Carey's executive assistant) questioned large IBT payments to Citizen Action, National Council of Senior Citizens, and Project Vote, all of which are implicated in the "contribution swap schemes." Political director William Hamilton then went over Belk's head to Carey, who approved the payments, Mullenholz testifies.

    October 17: Interim election officer Benetta Mansfield asks federal judge to delay Teamsters rerun election by approximately one month, indicating that Kenneth Conboy, who is mulling Carey's disqualification, needs more time to investigate.

    October 22: Independent Review Board charges that William Hamilton, former IBT Government Affairs Director under Carey administration, schemed with Davis, Nash and Ansara to funnel embezzled Teamster funds to Carey campaign. Hamilton, who is also under continuing investigation by New York grand jury, calls the charges "absolutely bizarre."

    October 23: When Hoffa camp filed protest over its fundraising practices, Carey campaign paid back over $210,000 to Barbara Arnold and others in March, 1997. Wall Street Journal reports that $65,000 of that amount came from Peter McGourty, a senior Carey aide named to run several Teamster Local Unions in New Jersey. The $65,000 was reported to the Election Officer as a "donation," yet Carey aides subsequently repaid McGourty with proceeds from a June 7 $100-a-ticket Carey fundraiser. Attendees were instructed by union officials to write their checks to a group called Concerned Teamsters 2000, the address of which was McGourty's home. The contributions to Concerned Teamsters 2000 were not reported on Carey campaign reports.

    October 25: As part of the "contribution swap schemes," $195,000 in Teamster funds went to support Pot Party In CAthe drive in California to legalize marijuana for medical use, the Associated Press reports. Charles "Chuck" Blitz, who was enlisted in the swap schemes by Michael Ansara, directed Citizen Action (which had received $475,000 from the Teamsters due to his efforts) to pay $195,000 to group which, in turn, gave the money to Americans for Medical Rights. AMR spent the money on its campaign to legalize pot for AIDS victims and others.

    October 27: Fortune magazine, in article entitled "The Trouble with the Teflon Teamster," revives claims that Carey testified as character witness for gangster John Conti, got immunity from prosecution in case against Local 804 treasurer John Long (where Carey testified that he had no recollection of payments to mob-linked pension fund, even though they were his Local's largest investments), forged his wife's signature in a real estate deal, and was fingered by mafia turncoat Alphonse "Little Al" D'Arco as a mob asset.

    October 30: Unable to raise funds in wake of Teamsters money laundering scandal, national office of Citizens Action closes its doors, New York Times reports.

    November 11: Candidates for IBT office must declare intention to rerun by November 20; Kenneth Conboy is expected to rule on Ron Carey's eligibility prior to that date, Washington Post reports.

    November 17: Acting Election Officer Kenneth Conboy rules Teamsters General President Ron Carey ineligible in re-run of Teamsters 1996 international officer election.

    • NOTE:Conboy relies on testimony of Carey's campaign manager Jere Nash (as well as Carey's IBT secretary Ron Careyand IBT Political Director William Hamilton)for conclusion that Carey knew of schemes to illegally fund his campaign with money from employers and IBT treasury. Carey lied, Conboy finds, when he denied knowledge of the money laundering scams which earned $538,000 for his campaign.

    • NOTE:Conboy reveals that AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka agreed to raise $50,000 for Carey campaign. When Trumka came up short on his illegal pledge, Carey groused "that it was unreasonable that Mr. Trumka was taking so long to provide his contribution because Mr. Carey, as General President of the IBT, had helped Mr. Trumka get elected Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO." (Conboy Decision, p. 17) Trumka refused to cooperate in Conboy's investigation, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. (Conboy Decision, p. 11)

    • NOTE: AFSCME International President Gerald McEntee raised $20,000 in cash for Carey campaign, Conboy reveals. McEntee squeezed the cash from a printing company which does work for AFSCME. (Conboy Decision, p. 11)

    November 17: In separate matter, Conboy reverses Interim Election Officer and orders her to investigate Carey charge that Hoffa campaign underreported membership contributions in campaign finance documents. Interim EO Mansfield advises parties that she will petition for another postponement of re-run election, currently set for February and March, 1998.

    November 18: Carey plans to appeal the Conboy ruling, he announces at press conference. "If anything was going on I would have stopped it dead in its tracks.... I intend to fight this with everything I have," said Carey, while declining to take questions. Carey's appeal path is to federal Judge David Edelstein, who picked Conboy to rule on Carey's eligibility.

    November 19: Carey's planned appeal stalls his slate's efforts to tap a replacement. Named as possible Carey stand-ins are George Cashman, Ken Hall and TDU favorite Tom Leedham.

    November 21: Judge David Edelstein grants Interim Election Officer's request for 45-day delay in Teamsters rerun election. Delay is to permit Interim EO to investigate Carey claims of Hoffa campaign fund reporting violations. A Hoffa spokesman claims the postponement shows "that the government has chosen sides and will do whatever it can to block Hoffa, who is right now the choice of the Teamster members."

    November 21: Teamsters for A Democratic Union ("TDU"), which begins its convention this weekend, is the target of FBI and Senate Government Affairs Committee inquiries, Washington Times reports. TDU, which has about 4,000 members, donated approximately $458,000 to Carey camaign, leading to speculation that TDU is "missing link" between Democratic National Committee and Carey.

    • NOTE: New York Times reports that investigators are looking into claims that Gail Zappa, widow of Frank Zappa and a major Democratic Party contributor, was asked by the DNC to donate to TDU in exchange for Teamster donations to the party. TDU head says he does not recall receiving money from Zappa, and says that TDU does not accept money from non-Teamsters.

    November 21: In his decision disqualifying Carey, Conboy found that AFL-CIO President John SweeneyAFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Trumka agreed to raise $50,000 for Carey, and implemented scheme in which AFL-CIO laundered $150,000 in IBT funds for Carey campaign. Trumka invoked Fifth Amendment in Conboy probe. Although AFL-CIO rules ban officials who take Fifth in order to cover up proven misconduct, Federation head John Sweeney backs Trumka: "The AFL-CIO . . . has for some time been conducting its own internal inquiry, and has no basis to conclude that there was any unlawful conduct by . . . Trumka," Sweeney writes to affiliates. "Furthermore, he has explicitly denied all wrongdoing."

    November 23: U.S. Attorney, operating under 1989 Consent Decree, installs auditor in Teamsters union. Auditor has authority to review all expenditures save for "regularly occurring" expenses. "Giving up that kind of authority to the government is a pretty strong admission that you don't have your house in order," says Michael Belzer, a University of Michigan professor.

    November 25: Carey announces that he will take unpaid leave of absence from Teamsters. In letter to Teamsters general executive board, Carey lashes out at his campaign manager, Nash: "It is a sad day when the word of a convicted criminal prevails over the word of a man who has stood for integrity all his life," Carey writes in apparent reference to himself.

    November 25: Hours after announcing his unpaid leave, Carey is charged by Independent Review Board with "bringing reproach" upon the union by his involvement in his campaign's financial scandal. Carey faces possible expulsion from the Teamsters. (IRB is composed of former FBI and CIA Director William Webster, former federal judge Frederick Lacey, and Grant Crandall, general counsel to the United Mine Workers Union.)

    • NOTE: As did Conboy, IRB concludes that Carey lied when he claimed not to remember approving $1.5 million in expenditures during a four-week period in 1996: "His claim . . . that he has no memory of the actual approval of any of these appears to be incredible given their unprecedented size and their relation to the federal election, a special event. Carey's lack of memory is less believable because he admitted it was rare that he would personally approve expenses, so these were not routine events in a blizzard of approvals," IRB writes.

    November 28: New York Times editorial calls for AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Trumka to step down from his position with the organization pending investigation of his role in the Carey campaign money laundering scam. "Refusing to testify on grounds of self-incrimination may be acceptable in a criminal trial, but it hardly instills confidence in his leadership of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.," paper writes.