New York Times




Ex-President of Teamsters Is Charged With Lying




January 26, 2001


Ron Carey, the former Teamsters' president who won election on an anticorruption platform, was indicted yesterday on federal charges that he lied repeatedly in an investigation into fund-raising in his 1996 re-election campaign.


The indictment, announced by Mary Jo White, the United States attorney in Manhattan, accused Mr. Carey of making dozens of false statements to a grand jury and to federal officials who oversaw the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.


The indictment charges that Mr. Carey lied repeatedly to federal officials in 1997 when they were investigating a scheme in which the union made $885,000 in donations to various liberal organizations and in exchange donors to those groups gave money to Mr. Carey's campaign.


Mr. Carey won that 1996 campaign against James P. Hoffa, but federal overseers overturned his victory and expelled him from the union in 1998 for failing to stop the campaign finance fraud.


Mr. Carey's lawyer, Reid Weingarten, said he was "extremely disappointed" by the indictment.


"Ron Carey is guilty of no crimes," Mr. Weingarten said. "We will contest these charges until he is fully vindicated. His proper place in history is as a hero of the labor movement."


The indictment is the latest embarrassment for Mr. Carey, who was first elected to the presidency of the 1.4 million-member union in 1991 after promising to do his utmost to clean up what had long been the nation's most corrupt union.


Mr. Carey developed a reputation as the labor movement's No. 1 corruption fighter as he moved aggressively against many Teamster officials who were taking bribes and pocketing money. But his adversaries insisted that his reputation was undeserved, asserting that he often punished his political opponents while ignoring corruption by his allies.


Mr. Carey, a 64-year-old Queens resident, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each of the indictment's seven counts.


For several years, conservatives had criticized Ms. White for not obtaining Mr. Carey's indictment. Those critics said the Clinton administration's Justice Department shielded Mr. Carey because he was a prominent supporter of the Democrats. Ms. White's spokesmen repeatedly denied that she was trying to protect Mr. Carey.


Many Republicans were also angry at Mr. Carey because his campaign aides had unsuccessfully pursued a plan in which the union's political action fund donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Party, partly in the hope that Democratic donors would give money to Mr. Carey. That hope, investigators say, never materialized.


The indictment outlined a scheme in which three of Mr. Carey's top campaign aides had pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud, while the union's former political director was found guilty last year of fraud.


As part of this elaborate scheme, the indictment said, Carey campaign officials arranged for the union to donate $175,000 to Project Vote and $475,000 to Citizen Action's Campaign for a Responsible Congress, two get-out-the-vote efforts that seek to elect Democrats. In exchange, donors to those groups contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Mr. Carey's financially pressed campaign.


The indictment said Mr. Carey committed perjury when he denied being told that Teamster contributions to various groups would assist his campaign fund-raising. The indictment also accused him of falsely stating that his campaign manager, Jere Nash, had no role in those Teamster contributions.

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