- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 1, 2001

It has been a long time coming, but the trial of Ron Carey, the former Teamster boss and Democratic Party sugar daddy, has finally begun. Indeed, it has been so long that some skeptics wondered if Mr. Carey would ever be indicted for lying to investigators and a federal grand jury.

How long has it been? Well, it's been five years since Mr. Carey's corrupt campaign for re-election as Teamster president emptied nearly $1 million from the Teamster treasury, laundered the money through the AFL-CIO and several liberal activist groups and then funneled the ill-gotten loot into Mr. Carey's campaign coffers.

It's been more than four years since a federally appointed election overseer invalidated Mr. Carey's fraud-ridden re-election. It has been four years since Mr. Carey's campaign manager, fund-raiser and telemarketer pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts involving fraud, conspiracy and embezzlement. At the time, one of those aides, Martin Davis, implicated several Democratic officials and AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka who subsequently asserted his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in wide-ranging conspiracies involving contribution-swapping schemes and money-laundering.

November will mark the fourth anniversary of a report issued by yet another federally appointed election overseer, former federal judge Kenneth Conboy. Charging that Mr. Carey had "broadly and intentionally violated" union election rules, Mr. Conboy barred Mr. Carey from running in the 1998 Teamster election rerun. Throughout his blistering report, Mr. Conboy found Mr. Carey's testimony to be "not credible," "hard to believe" and "difficult to believe." The report asserted that Mr. Carey's positions were "completely untenable," simply "unbelievable" or "directly contradicted" by the facts and by his associates. Mr. Conboy concluded that "any finder of fact would be entirely justified in drawing an inference that Mr. Carey sought to mislead his interrogators."

It has been more than three years since the Independent Review Board (IRB), a federally appointed panel, expelled Mr. Carey and William Hamilton Jr., the Teamsters' political director, from the union. In addition to his role in the money-laundering scheme related to Mr. Carey's re-election, Hamilton was also responsible for funneling millions and millions of dollars from the nearly bankrupt Teamster treasury and its political action committee (PAC) into Democratic coffers.

November will mark the second anniversary of Hamilton's conviction on multiple felony counts (fraud, conspiracy, perjury, etc.) for the money-laundering scheme that embezzled $885,000 from the Teamster treasury for the benefit of Mr. Carey's campaign. At Hamilton's trial, testimony from Richard Sullivan, the 1996 finance director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), implicated Terry McAuliffe, current DNC chairman and former chief fund-raiser for Bill Clinton and the DNC, in another money-laundering scheme involving the Democratic Party, the Teamster treasury and PAC and Mr. Carey's campaign. Mr. Sullivan testified, "Terry would generally say, 'By the way, I still think we can get a large amount of contributions from the Teamsters if you can find the donor' " to Mr. Carey's campaign.

Ms. White finally got around to indicting Mr. Carey on seven counts of lying at least 63 times to a federal grand jury, an election officer, the chief investigator for the IRB and the IRB itself. (Raise your hand if Ron Carey never lied to you.) Interestingly, Mr. Carey wasn't indicted until four days after George W. Bush became president, raising the inevitable question of what kind of prosecutorial discretion the Clinton-appointed, extremely ambitious Ms. White would have exercised if Al Gore were in the White House. After all, Mr. Conboy issued his devastating report in November 1997, nearly four years ago. And Hamilton was convicted 22 months before Ms. White finally indicted Mr. Carey.

In addition to echoing Ms. White's September 1997 summary implicating Mr. Carey and high-level Democratic Party officials in the contribution-swapping scheme, Mr. Conboy's report also implicated several union bosses Gerald McEntee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); Andrew Stern of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and Mr. Trumka, yet again in illegal fund-raising schemes on behalf of Mr. Carey. Indeed, according to the Conboy report, Mr. McEntee admitted that he had solicited a $20,000 contribution to Mr. Carey's campaign from the owners of a union vendor. These donations were illegal not only because they were unreported, but also because the vendor was an employer. As such, he was prohibited by Teamster rules from donating. The Conboy report also accused Mr. Trumka of illegally soliciting donations to the Carey campaign. Ms. White's own report, issued in September 1997, implicated Mr. Trumka in a scheme that diverted $150,000 from the Teamster treasury, laundered the dough through the AFL-CIO and funneled it to Citizen Action, a liberal activist group, which then paid $100,000 to Davis' direct-mail firm that was working for Mr. Carey.

Given that Mr. Carey wasn't indicted until long after federal officials had invalidated his re-election, barred him from the rerun and expelled him from the union, he had long ago lost control over the Teamster treasury and PAC. Without such control, Mr. Carey was small bear. Ditto for Hamilton. However, Mr. Trumka, despite repeatedly taking the Fifth an action for which he should have been expelled from the AFL-CIO according to its own rules continues to wield power as the labor federation's second-ranking official. Mr. McEntee, who has been the AFL-CIO's political enforcer during the past three federal election campaigns, remains president of AFSCME. Mr. Stern still heads SEIU. And, of course, Mr. McAuliffe is now chairman of the DNC. Skeptics who waited for years for Ms. White to indict Mr. Carey now understandably wonder if she will indict anybody who actually holds and wields power. The statute of limitations expires at the end of the year. Since the investigation is now nearly five years old, it is long past time for decisions.


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