AFL-CIO Official Refuses To Testify On Teamsters Vote



Dow Jones Newswires

WASHINGTON -- Richard Trumka, the No. 2 official at the AFL-CIO, refused to testify next week before a House panel investigating last year's nullified Teamsters election.

In a letter to the oversight panel of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Mr. Trumka's lawyer, Nicole Seligman, said her client would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights if he were subpoenaed. Republicans on the panel had hoped to question Mr. Trumka on his alleged role in helping Teamsters President Ron Carey win re-election by funneling union money into Mr. Carey's campaign.

Instead of calling Mr. Trumka, the panel will instead hear testimony from AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney.

Mr. Trumka, who hasn't been charged with any crime, was implicated in the Teamsters' money-laundering scheme by Jere Nash, Mr. Carey's former campaign manager. Mr. Nash and two other Carey associates pleaded guilty in federal court last summer to charges relating to fraud.

According to statements Mr. Nash made to federal prosecutors, Mr. Trumka used his position as the AFL-CIO's secretary treasurer to help the Carey campaign launder some of the money embezzled from the Teamsters. Mr. Trumka has denied wrongdoing. A federal grand jury in New York is investigating.

Because of the money-laundering allegations, Mr. Carey's narrow victory over James P. Hoffa was thrown out, and federal officials have ordered a new election, which will probably be held sometime this summer.

In a related matter, Mr. Carey, who put himself on unpaid leave last fall, has asked the Teamsters' Internal Review Board to allow him to be paid once again to run a New York local he once headed. The board declined to consider the request and referred it to the union's executive committee.

At the time Mr. Carey stepped down from running the international union, he said he was taking an unpaid leave from all Teamster positions.

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