By GLENN BURKINS, STAFF REPORTER OF THE WALL STREET
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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