Skip to comments.TEAMSTERS (IBT) Nash Finally Sentenced, Gets Off Easy
Posted on 04/16/2002 2:52:21 PM PDT by knak
Almost 55 months after confessing felonious conduct, Teamster money-laundering scandal figure, Jere Nash, has finally been sentenced. U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas P. Griesa (S.D.N.Y., Nixon) sentenced Nash Apr. 9 to a mere two years probation for his role in a series of schemes which lead to the embezzlement of some $885,000 from the Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters' treasury and to $538,100 in illegal campaign contributions to the failed reelection campaign of expelled IBT president Ron Carey. The sentencing appears to have been hush hush: the four N.Y.C. major dailies and the two Washington, D.C., dailies apparently did not cover the sentencing (as of Apr. 15), which is surprising given the red hot coverage of the scandal in the past.
Nash was Carey's campaign manager and pled guilty Sept. 18, 1997, to one count of conspiracy and one count of making false statements. Griesa agreed to show leniency to Nash, who served as the main prosecution witness in the failed perjury trial of Carey in Oct. 2001. "I have no intention of imposing a prison sentence," Griesa told Nash. Nash also testified against ex-IBT political director William Hamilton, who was convicted in Nov. 1999 and is serving a three-year prison term. Griesa ordered Nash to pay $25,000 in restitution, which has already been paid.
A bearded, bespectacled Nash apologized to the IBT before sentencing: "I felt so strongly about the need for Ron Carey to get elected that I was willing to substitute my judgment for the collective judgment of the union members that voted, and that was wrong." Nash faced up to three years in prison under sentencing guidelines, although prosecutors asked for less time because of his "substantial assistance." Griesa granted the request, noting that he had given probation to two other campaign aides convicted in the scheme. [Bloomberg News 4/9/02] This apparently was not a reference to Martin Davis and Michael Ansara, both of whom worked with Nash to facilitate the schemes and whom pled guilty on the same day. There has been no report that these two have been sentenced. Two minor scandal figures fund-raiser Charles Blitz and disbarred attorney Nathaniel Charny both received slaps on the wrists in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
Attention opposition researchers: while awaiting sentencing, Nash kept busy. In the Mar. 2002 issue of Campaign & Elections, Nash placed the following classified ad: "DEMOCRATIC CONSULTING GROUP, INC., P.O. Box 1488 Jackson, MS 39215, 601-352-7037 Jere Nash FAX 601-949-8492." Research to date has not uncovered any of the convicted felon's clients; however, if you find the Democratic Consulting Group working for a political candidate or some other political organization this election cycle, please contact the Union Corruption Update.
By Micah Morrison, a senior editorial page writer at the Journal.
Former Teamsters President Ron Carey is slated to be arraigned today in federal court in New York on seven felony counts of perjury and false statements in connection with a sweeping conspiracy to illegally fund his 1996 re-election effort. Some Democratic powerbrokers implicated in the scandal are fastening their seatbelts. It could be a rough ride.
Mr. Carey's lawyer, Reid Weingarten, says his client will plead not guilty. Mr. Weingarten himself is a sign of the seriousness of the case. He's one of a small circle of scandal superlawyers based in Washington. He says, "I don't believe he committed any crimes and he'll be fully vindicated at the end of the day."
Mr. Carey is charged with repeatedly lying to federal investigators, election monitors, and a federal grand jury about his role in a conspiracy to embezzle Teamsters union funds to aid his 1996 re-election campaign. In November 1999 a key Carey aide, former Teamsters political director William Hamilton, was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in the embezzlement of $885,000 in union funds to support the Carey re-election.
The Hamilton trial implicated not only Mr. Carey, but other powerful figures in the American labor movement as well, including AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees head Gerald McEntee, and Service Employees International Union chief Andy Stern. Terry McAuliffe, Bill Clinton's nominee to chair the Democratic National Committee, and in 1996 the head of the Clinton-Gore re-election effort, also was implicated. Aside from Mr. Carey and Mr. Hamilton, none of these men have been charged with any crimes.
U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, criticized in these pages and elsewhere for a glacial prosecutorial pace, appears to have not entirely abandoned the pursuit of other powerful union figures. Having first convicted Mr. Hamilton and obtaining pleas from a series of lesser figures in the conspiracy, she is now going after Mr. Carey. Will Mr. Trumka and others be next?
Mr. Trumka appears to have played a key role in one of the illegal swap schemes featured in both the Carey indictment and the Hamilton trial. The jury in the Hamilton trial found that Mr. Hamilton had asked Mr. Carey to approve a $150,000 contribution from the Teamsters treasury to the AFL-CIO. By pre-arrangement with the co-conspirators, allegedly including Mr. Trumka, the AFL then donated $150,000 to a liberal activist group, Citizen Action. Citizen Action then sent $100,000 to a political consulting group to which the Carey re-election campaign owed money; the $100,000 was used to reduce the Carey campaign's debt. In other words, money was taken from the Teamsters treasury and routed through the AFL-CIO to the personal benefit of Ron Carey. Mr. Hamilton was convicted in the scheme.
In testimony included in his indictment, Mr. Carey is repeatedly asked under oath about Mr. Trumka's involvement and repeatedly denies any knowledge of it. "Did anyone discuss with you whether Richard Trumka was going to make donations to your campaign?" asked the the chief investigator of the Independent Review Board, the federal oversight panel supervising the union under a corruption clean-up decree. "No," Mr. Carey replied.
Mr. Carey also is charged with perjury in testimony related to a second scheme involving Mr. Trumka, AFSCME head Gerald McEntee, and SEIU chief Andy Stern. Testimony at the Hamilton trial implicated the union bosses in a scheme to channel $50,000 each to Mr. Carey, illegal under labor law.
Questioned before a federal grand jury about the donations, Mr. Carey was asked "if anyone at the Teamsters organization had any conversations with anybody at the AF of L, the SEIU or AFSCME concerning the Ron Carey campaign?"
"No one has ever told me that," Mr. Carey replied. Asked in a follow-up question whether any of his staff had conversations with the three unions, Mr. Carey said, "I have never been told of it and have never heard of it."
Mr. Trumka, Mr. McEntee and Mr. Stern have all denied any wrongdoing. But Mr. Trumka asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege when questioned by government investigators. The AFL's code of conduct says no officer who takes the Fifth can hold office. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney waived the regulation for Mr. Trumka.
Mr. Trumka is one of the most powerful figures in the American labor movement, and his links to the Democratic Party are tight. In the midst of a presidential primary battle in 2000, he traveled to Iowa to back Al Gore against Bill Bradley. The AFL poured a fortune into the getting out the Democratic vote in the presidential showdown.
Absent from the Carey indictment is any mention of Mr. McAuliffe, the Clinton fund-raising kingpin. According to testimony at the Hamilton trial by a former DNC finance director, Mr. McAuliffe attempted to carry out a scheme in which the DNC would find a donor for Mr. Carey and in return the Teamsters would donate money to Democratic groups. Under federal law, it's illegal to use money from a union treasury to promote the candidacy of anyone running for union office, which would have been the effect of the swap scheme. Mr. McAuliffe's lawyer says his client was not involved in any wrongdoing and cooperated with the investigation.
Ms. White's office says "the investigation is continuing." Should Mr. Carey be convicted -- or decide it's in his interest to cooperate -- more indictments could be forthcoming.
Ron Carey's indictment is only the first step in fighting labor corruption.
Last week's indictment of former Teamster President Ronald Carey is long overdue; the charges concern diverting money from the union treasury to his own re-election campaign back in 1996. Equally overdue is a broader look at the problem of union corruption, which is clearly widespread and probably growing.
In contrast to U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White's glacial pace in the Teamster case, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has been obtaining lots of corruption convictions in an aggressive series of union probes. The benchmark case for good prosecutorial conduct is Mr. Morgenthau's investigation of District Council 37, which represents 125,000 city workers through a collection of locals under Gerald McEntee's politically powerful American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Mr. Morgenthau's probe of vote-rigging, embezzlement and contract-ratification fraud has resulted in more than two-dozen convictions and numerous sudden retirements, including a AFSCME local president. Mr. Morgenthau has undertaken similar prosecutions of union roofers, crooked contractors and garbage haulers with similar results. Organized crime elements played a major role in some of these schemes.
In Washington, D.C., meanwhile, the general secretary of the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers is indicted for embezzlement of union funds, allegedly including $10,000 to fund a vacation in Scotland. In California, the ex-financial secretary of a Longshoreman's union local faces felony charges in the embezzlement of more than $200,000 in union funds. In Chicago, a local leader is indicted for racketeering in the theft of $473,000 from the Laborers International Union of North America (Liuna).
Liuna represents more than 800,000 workers in construction, clerical work, health care and state and local government. It is a particularly troubled union. Liuna head Arthur Coia was forced out last year after pleading guilty to a felony tax fraud charge, but continues to exert influence. Early in the Clinton Presidency, Mr. Coia ended an investigation of mob influence by reaching a settlement with the Justice Department for a voluntary cleanup. Mr. Coia had close ties to the Clinton White House and former deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, a longtime union lawyer and the New York mastermind of Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.
This is the environment in which the Carey case should be seen. He's charged with seven counts of perjury and false statements in connection with the financing of his campaign for re-election to the union presidency. He'd been the reformer, cleaning up the corruption of former President Jimmy Hoffa under a federal oversight board. Mr. Carey won the 1996 election against Mr. Hoffa's son, James P. Hoffa, who later won the presidency after the oversight board stripped Mr. Carey of office and expelled him from the union over his election finances.
In November 1999, Mrs. White's prosecutors convicted former Teamsters political director William Hamilton for fraud and conspiracy to embezzle $850,000 from the union treasury for the Carey re-election campaign. The money was laundered as donations to other unions and political groups, which then returned it in contributions to the Carey campaign. After the verdict, the younger Mr. Hoffa urged further prosecutions, saying that "trial testimony revealed that several other individuals participated in the conspiracy."
Mr. Carey was indicted shortly after Mr. Hamilton's appeal was unanimously dismissed by a three-judge federal appeals panel. Trial testimony indicated that $150,000 of the Teamster money was laundered through the AFL, and that AFL-CIO Treasurer Richard Trumka was implicated. Mr. Trumka took the Fifth Amendment when questioned about the matter by federal investigators. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney waived the union's ban on holding office after a self-incrimination plea.
The Carey case, in short, is a dagger pointing to the highest levels of the American labor movement. Other names arising in the testimony about donation swapping included Mr. McEntee of the Municipal Employees and Andy Stern, chief of the Service Employees International Union. Also, by the way, Terry McAuliffe, chairman in 1996 of the Clinton-Gore re-election effort and currently Bill Clinton's nominee to run the Democratic National Committee. None of these men have been charged with any crime.
Of course, in some quarters the donation-swapping scheme is dismissed as "just about politics," as President Clinton's perjury was dismissed as "just about sex." But to repeat: This case is about stealing money from union funds entrusted to union officials. If you can help yourself to your members' money for politics, why not for personal enrichment?
Perceptions of the corruption problem may be more acute on the shop floor than in the elite media. Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that union membership dropped to the lowest level in 60 years, only 13.5% of the work force. Last year alone membership declined by 200,000, to 16.3 million. In the private-sector work force, it declined to 9.0% from 9.4%. In 1997 Mr. Sweeney said, "The problem with our political program was there are far too few union members in the United States. Unless we put an emphasis on growth, none of our other strategies will work."
Membership is declining despite the array of privileges unions enjoy under the law. Under the National Labor Relations Act, unions were granted the right to monopoly bargaining power as well as the right to collect compulsory dues from their members. Since the NLRA's passage, the number of laws granting unions a special status has mushroomed.
Unions are exempt from some trespassing laws, given immunity from certain anti-trust laws, and even permitted to engage in some violent acts if they are in the context of "legitimate union objectives." And of course, no one has ever enforced the Supreme Court's Beck decision, saying non-members forced to pay union dues are entitled to a refund of whatever portion is spent for political purposes. We submit that these privileges and immunities under the law are themselves a psychological and legal inducement to corruption.
With the help of a little luck, labor derailed Linda Chavez, a nominee for Labor Secretary it considered especially hostile. Her replacement, Elaine Chao, is friendly with labor leaders, but equally conservative. We hope that Ms. Chao, and the coming new appointees at the Justice Department, turn their minds to ensuring that even unions abide by the law.
Click on this Garner cartoon and go to: Blood in the Water -The Democrats got Chavez without cashing in a single chit ~ WSJ.
Click on Garner cartoon and go to: So Long, Bill - Comedy Will Miss You ~ CHRIS HARRIS - WSJ.
............. ~ From WSJ. 1.25.01:
Connect the dots.
Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder "would be the single worst choice for interim AG, giving Judiciary Democrats an incentive to delay the Ashcroft vote as long as possible." -- "Damaged Justice, Wall Street Journal, Review & Outlook, Jan. 15
Eric Holder "will become acting attorney general on Saturday, when Bush takes office and Clinton and Reno depart. Holder will be acting attorney general until the Senate confirms Ashcroft." -- Reuters, Jan. 18.
"Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee forced a one-week delay Wednesday in voting on Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft. The panel's top Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, said Democrats want written answers to hundreds of questions before deciding on the former Missouri senator's fitness to join President Bush's Cabinet." -- Associated Press, Jan. 24.
November 15, 1999
By Micah Morrison, a Journal editorial page writer.
A federal jury in New York will soon decide whether former International Brotherhood of Teamsters political director William Hamilton is guilty of a conspiracy to embezzle $850,000 in union funds to illegally aid the 1996 re-election effort of then-Teamster President Ron Carey. The arcane case has received scant media attention, but a wakeup call may be on the way. A conviction of Mr. Hamilton could open the door to a criminal conspiracy prosecution that would rock the Democratic Party.
U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White brought a five-count indictment against Mr. Hamilton, charging him with conspiring to divert funds from the Teamsters' treasury, embezzlement of union funds, mail fraud, wire fraud and false statements. Two conspirators, former Carey campaign manager Jere Nash and liberal activist Michael Ansara, pleaded guilty to siphoning union funds and testified for the government at the trial.
Campaign finance prosecutor
The case is not about the technicalities of campaign-finance laws. At issue is the misuse of Teamster funds contributed by the rank-and-file to sway an internal election.
"Money poured out of the Teamsters' General Treasury Fund like water from an open faucet," Robert Rice, Ms. White's lead prosecutor, told the jury. Under federal law, it is illegal to use money from a union treasury to promote the candidacy of anyone running for union office. Union dues, in other words, could not be used to fund Mr. Carey's campaign against James Hoffa, son of the legendary labor leader.
But it is legal to use union money to make certain other types of political contributions. For example, donations to issue-advocacy groups that lobby voters and contributions for get-out-the-vote drives are permitted.
Mr. Hamilton reported to Mr. Carey and was in charge of Teamster political donations. The prosecution charges that he and his alleged co-conspirators cooked up a series of swap schemes to generate and conceal illegal donations to Mr. Carey. Mr. Hamilton donated Teamster funds to voter-education and -mobilization groups that had been enlisted in the alleged scheme. In return, the prosecution says, these groups or their friends made donations to the Carey campaign or retired debts owed by the campaign.
Mr. Rice told the jury that in the early fall of 1996, "$885,000 poured out of the Teamsters' General Treasury Fund under the guise of political contributions to four organizations: Citizen Action, Project Vote, the National Council of Senior Citizens ... and the AFL-CIO." In exchange for those contributions, "$325,000 from other sources was kicked back to benefit the Carey re-election effort."
A parade of witnesses detailed the serpentine schemes. The services of top officials of the Clinton-Gore re-election effort, the Democratic National Committee and the AFL-CIO were enlisted, according to trial testimony. Some of the fund-transfer allegations cited during the trial involve Terry McAuliffe, today a senior Democratic Party fund-raiser and in 1996 head of the Clinton-Gore re-election effort; Mr. Carey, whose 1996 re-election to head the Teamsters was later voided due to the scandal; and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, who asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege when questioned by government investigators. While these men have not been charged, evidence introduced by Ms. White's team suggests that the conspiracy to violate election laws reached much higher than Mr. Hamilton.
One of Mr. Hamilton's alleged co-conspirators, political consultant Martin Davis, approached top Democratic Party officials as part of the scheme, Mr. Rice told the jury. Mr. Davis went to Mr. McAuliffe in search of money. "McAuliffe put Davis in touch with Laura Hartigan, the finance director of the Clinton-Gore committee," Mr. Rice said. "Laura Hartigan, in turn, put Davis in touch with Richard Sullivan, the finance director of the Democratic National Committee." Mr. Davis pleaded guilty to conspiring to funnel union funds and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution. But as Mr. Hamilton's trial neared, Mr. Davis apparently had second thoughts; he did not appear as a witness. His plea bargain with the government is now "under review," Mr. Rice said.
Mr. Hamilton's attorney, Robert Gage, opened a three-pronged defense last week. First, all the Teamster contributions were made in good faith to "legitimate organizations" that had "important relationships with labor," Mr. Gage told the jury in his opening statement. Second, 1996 was a tumultuous election year, and Democrats were desperate to defeat "the Gingrich Congress." Finally, the conspiracy was executed by Mr. Nash and Mr. Davis, not his client.
Mr. Gage plays a tricky political card in the courtroom. His first witness was Sarah Weddington, the matronly Texas lawyer who fought Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court. A character witness, she played no part in the alleged swap schemes. Smiling broadly at the seven women on the jury, she declared that Mr. Hamilton was "one of the most honest people I've ever known."
But juries are notoriously fickle, and the pander on abortion and Mr. Gingrich may not go over well. Out of the jury's presence, Judge Thomas Griesa summed up the case: The issue is "whether Mr. Hamilton approved certain contributions ... in order to procure contributions indirectly for the Ronald Carey campaign."
The defense has yet to rest its case. But if the jury puts the swap notion foremost in its deliberations, Mr. Hamilton could be looking at a serious problem. And Ms. White, a rising star in Democratic Party legal circles, would be looking at one of the toughest decisions of her career: whether to proceed with a conspiracy case against some of the most powerful figures in her own party.
Click on one of these eye soothers and see what Ann thought the chances of MoJo doing her job were:
By a WALL STREET JOURNAL Staff Reporter
NEW YORK -- Former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White is rejoining her old law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, as it expands its white-collar crime practice amid growing financial scandals.
Ms. White, 54 years old, will be chairman of the firm's litigation group and oversee 150 lawyers in addition to defending companies and conducting internal investigations for those accused of securities-law violations and corporate crimes. She was a partner at the firm from 1983 to 1990, focusing on white-collar work.
"Obviously, in the current business climate, that's what I expect to see a lot of: white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, Securities and Exchange Commission matters," Ms. White said.
As U.S. attorney in Manhattan from 1993 until January, Ms. White was best known for her prosecution of terrorism cases, winning convictions in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Her office also prosecuted many securities-fraud and other corporate cases
Updated April 12, 2002 12:13 a.m. EDT
old time’s sake bump
Thanks for the ping! All indicators are that the same players are handling Clinton’s money this election cycle as well.
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