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UNITED STATES v. INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF TEAMSTERS

October 17, 1995

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, -against- INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, et al., Defendants. IN RE: APPLICATION II OF THE ELECTION OFFICER


The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN

 EDELSTEIN, District Judge:

 This opinion emanates from the voluntary settlement of an action commenced by plaintiff United States of America ("the Government") against, inter alia, defendants International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("the IBT" or "the Union") and the IBT's General Executive Board. This settlement is embodied in the voluntary consent order entered on March 14, 1989 ("the Consent Decree"). The goal of the Consent Decree is to rid the IBT of the hideous influence of organized crime through a two-phased implementation of the Consent Decree's various remedial provisions. In the first phase of the Consent Decree, these provisions established offices for three Court-appointed officials: the Independent Administrator to oversee the Consent Decree's provisions, the Investigations Officer to bring charges against corrupt IBT members, and the Election Officer to supervise the electoral process that led up to and included the 1991 election for International Union Office. In the second phase of the Consent Decree, the Independent Administrator was replaced by a three-member Independent Review Board ("the IRB"). Further, paragraph 12(D)(ix) of the Consent Decree provides that "the union defendants consent to the Election Officer, at Government expense, to supervise the 1996 IBT Elections."

 In the instant application, the 1996 IBT Election Officer, Barbara Zack Quindel, ("the Election Officer") apprises the Court of a funding problem that she describes as a "crisis that could jeopardize my ability to properly discharge my duties as Election Officer." Letter from Barbara Zack Quindel, Election Officer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, to the Honorable David N. Edelstein, United States District Judge ("Election Officer's Letter") at 1 (October 13, 1995) (on file with Clerk of Southern District of New York). *fn1" The Election Officer asserts that the Justice Department has informed her that the Government only can provide interim funding of approximately $ 200,000 to fund the Election Officer's activities between now and November 13, 1995. Id. The Election Officer claims that her office requires $ 1,086,000 during this time period.

 She further asserts that although the Justice Department is aware of her office's financial needs, pursuant to current appropriations legislation, the Justice Department can only allocate interim funding of approximately $ 200,000. The Election Officer contends that this funding deficiency has been caused by the fact that the Congress has yet to pass a budget for the federal government for fiscal year 1996. Instead, Congress has passed a continuing resolution that funds 1996 Justice Department expenditures at 1995 levels until a budget has been passed. The Election Officer claims that interim funding based on 1995 levels is insufficient because the 1995 budget for the Election Office "reflected several months of planning and start-up, without a full election office and regional staff. In contrast, the [fiscal year 1996] budget covers the peak of election activity, including the delegate elections and the [IBT] Convention." Id. at 1-2. The Election Officer states that "funding based on last year's budget is insufficient to cover the cost of the myriad tasks to be performed at this time and the staff and expenses that [the Election Office is] now incurring necessary to perform those tasks. . . ." Id. at 2. As a result, the Election Officer submitted with her letter a proposed order, ordering the Justice Department to provide funding up to $ 6,000,0000 for fiscal year 1996.

 Neither the IBT nor the Government disputes the Election Officer's contentions. In a letter to this Court, the IBT states:

 
The IBT has reviewed the submission of the Election Officer, Barbara Zack Quindel. . . . The IBT is in agreement with the proposed order [submitted by the Election Officer].

 Letter from Judith A. Scott, General Counsel for International Brotherhood of Teamsters, to the Honorable David N. Edelstein, United States District Judge ("IBT Letter") at 1 (October 13, 1995) (on file with Clerk of Southern District of New York). Moreover, not only has the Government filed no papers in opposition to the Election Officer's letter, but in an October 12, 1995, letter to this Court, the Government apprised this Court of this funding problem. Letter from Karen B. Konigsberg, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, to the Honorable David N. Edelstein, United States District Judge ("Government's Letter") at 1, (October 12, 1995) (on file with Clerk of Southern District of New York). In this letter, the Government echoes the Election Officer's contention that "under the resolution, . . . the Government cannot fund the Election Officer to the level provided in her budget." Id. at 1

 BACKGROUND

 Although great progress has been made in ridding the Union of the heinous influence of organized crime, there is much more work to be done before the Consent Decree's goals will be achieved. The democratic cleansing process must continue. Working to rid the IBT of the perverse influence of organized crime has been an arduous task that has spawned a Niagara of litigation. *fn2" Yet, as this Court noted in an Opinion and Order filed fewer than two months ago:

 "the minions of organized crime continue to haunt the IBT. These invidious enemies of union democracy continue to thrive with a perverse and persistent energy." United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 896 F. Supp. 1349, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12076, *6, 1995 WL 504813 at *2 (S.D.N.Y. 1995). In that Opinion and Order, this Court emphasized that insuring that the 1996 IBT elections remain free and democratic is vitally important to IBT members and to the nation:

 
It is of paramount importance that the same spirit of vigilance that vitalized the 1991 IBT election energize the 1995-96 IBT election process if the arduous and painstaking work of implementing the Consent Decree is to be preserved and built upon. . . . Rank and file Teamsters will watch this election with the hope that the Union will continue to be free and democratic. They will constantly be asking themselves whether the Union truly belongs to them. It is not just their interests that are at stake: The American public as a whole will benefit when this union of more than 1.4 million members is freed from the clutches of organized ...

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