- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2000

One of Vice President Al Gore's most active campaigners, Richard L. Trumka, the No. 2 AFL-CIO official, is under investigation in a money-laundering plan involving the Democratic Party and ousted Teamsters' President Ron Carey.

The probe has focused on accusations that Mr. Trumka laundered $150,000 in AFL-CIO funds to Mr. Carey's re-election campaign through a consumer-advocacy group known as Citizen Action. The suspected scheme involves a trade-off of funds between Mr. Carey and the Democratic Party.

A federal grand jury in New York has subpoenaed AFL-CIO records concerning the donations. While prosecutors have declined to comment, they recently blocked the Teamsters Union from going to court to seek $9 million in damages, saying it would undermine a criminal investigation.

Mr. Trumka, former head of the United Mine Workers, was a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention this year in Los Angeles and was instrumental in securing the AFL-CIO endorsement of Mr. Gore. A receptionist said he was unavailable yesterday and referred inquiries to the AFL-CIO press office, which did not return calls for comment.

Doug Hattaway, Gore campaign spokesman, also did not return calls.

It is not illegal for Teamsters to donate to Democratic causes, but U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said in a court brief that a top Carey aide, Martin Davis, came to see the planned donations "as a means to induce the [Democratic National Committee] to raise money for the Carey campaign."

She wrote that Davis, who admitted to illegally diverting funds to Mr. Carey's 1996 re-election bid, discussed the scheme with Clinton-Gore and DNC officials.

Authorities said Davis promised Terry McAuliffe, President Clinton's chief campaign fund-raiser, that the union would spend unprecedented sums to elect Democrats if the Clinton-Gore campaign or the DNC would persuade donors to contribute to Mr. Carey.

Mr. Trumka refused to testify before the grand jury and a House subcommittee investigation of the Carey campaign invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney said he did not know Mr. Trumka used $150,000 from his union's treasury until months later, when the probe began. He has since adopted a two-signature requirement for cash outlays but has not acted against Mr. Trumka.

Last year, the Teamsters' former political director, William N. Hamilton, was convicted on charges of embezzlement, fraud and perjury in the diversion of $885,000 in union funds to the Democratic Party. Hamilton's indictment said Mr. Trumka agreed with Davis to transfer the $150,000 to Citizen Action, which then routed $100,000 to Davis' direct-mail firm. Davis used the money to pay for the Carey campaign's direct-mail program.

Hamilton was charged with diverting campaign funds to Democrats in exchange for donations to Mr. Carey's campaign. Mr. Carey's receipt of those funds led to his ouster as Teamsters president. Others named in connection with the probe were Mr. McAuliffe and Harold Ickes, former White House deputy chief of staff, who led fund raising in the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign.

Hamilton was convicted on the testimony of several government witnesses and Democratic Party officials who outlined a kickback scheme involving the DNC, the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO, top White House aides and the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election committee. Authorities said illegal donations were diverted to finance Mr. Carey's campaign.

During the Hamilton trial, Richard Sullivan, the DNC's former finance director, said Mr. McAuliffe encouraged him to find a donor for Mr. Carey's campaign. In exchange, the Teamsters would donate to a Democratic fund-raising group.

Prosecutors focused on two memos written by Laura Hartigan, a Clinton-Gore campaign official who worked for Mr. McAuliffe. In the memos, she directed Davis to spend union money on dozens of state Democratic parties in the 1996 election and included instructions regarding amounts, contacts and addresses.

Davis forwarded Miss Hartigan's instructions to Hamilton, who with Mr. Carey later approved the expenditures. Mr. McAuliffe then received credit on tally sheets maintained by the DNC. Shortly after Miss Hartigan's memos, Davis joined her and Mr. McAuliffe at the White House for lunch with Mr. Clinton.

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