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UNITED STATES v. INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF TEAMSTERS

September 29, 1997

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, -against- INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, et al., Defendant. IN RE: APPLICATION X OF THE ELECTION OFFICER


The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN

 EDELSTEIN, District Judge :

 BACKGROUND

 FACTS

 Under the Consent Decree, the Election Officer was responsible for supervising the rank-and-file elections of delegates to the 1991 IBT Convention as well as the subsequent rank-and-file elections of IBT officers from among the candidates nominated at the 1991 IBT Convention. July 10, 1990 Opinion & Order, 742 F. Supp. 94, 97 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), aff'd as modified, United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 931 F.2d 177 (2d Cir. 1991). Pursuant to the authority vested in the Election Officer to supervise all phases of the 1991 IBT Election by paragraph 12(D)(ix) of the Consent Decree, the Election Officer promulgated a set of rules governing the general conduct of the 1991 IBT Election, which was presented for this Court's review. Id.

 According to the original terms of the Consent Decree, the Election Officer was authorized to oversee only those matters and disputes concerning the 1991 IBT Election. Consent Decree, PP 3(l), 12(D)(ix). By Stipulation and Order dated February 7, 1995, however, the Consent Decree was amended to reflect the parties' agreement regarding the supervision of the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election ("the 1996 Election"). See Stipulation & Order Implementing Paragraph 12(D)(IX) of the March 19 [sic], 1989 Consent Decree (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 7, 1995) ("the February 7, 1995 Order"). The February 7, 1995 Order states that "it is the intention of the Government and the IBT that the Election Officer function in 1996 as similarly as possible to the 1991 Election Officer," id. at 2, and grants the 1996 Election Officer ("the Election Officer") "all rights and duties conferred upon the 1991 Election Officer by paragraph 12 of the Consent Decree," id. P 1, including "the authority granted by Paragraph 12(I) of the Consent Decree to make applications to the Court, after giving notice to specified parties." Id. P 3(c). Furthermore, the February 7, 1995 Order provides for the appointment of an Election Appeals Master to hear disputes about the conduct of the 1995-96 IBT election or the results of that election. Id. at P 2.

 Pursuant to her authority under the Consent Decree and the February 7, 1995 Order, the Election Officer submitted for this Court's approval the rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election ("the 1996 Election Rules"). On August 22, 1995, this Court approved the 1996 Election Rules in their entirety. August 22, 1995 Opinion & Order, 896 F. Supp. 1349, 1353 (S.D.N.Y. 1995), aff'd as modified, United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 86 F.3d 275 (2d Cir. 1996). On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed this Court, but held that one provision of the 1996 Election Rules was overly broad, and remanded the issue to this Court to amend the provision in question. United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 86 F.3d 271 (2d Cir. 1996). This Court modified the rule in accordance with the Second Circuit's opinion. June 18, 1996 Opinion & Order, 928 F. Supp. 392 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).

 On August 21, 1997, the Election Officer granted certain post-election protests, finding that violations of the 1996 Election Rules "may have affected the outcome of the election." Quindel decl. P 5; see 1996 Election Rules, Article XIV, Section 3(b)(stating that the Election Officer cannot grant a post-election protest unless "the alleged violation may have affected the outcome of the election a . . . ."). Specifically, the Election Officer found that "there is no doubt that all of the contributions to [the Teamsters for a Corruption Free Union ("TCFU"),]" a fundraising committee of the Ron Carey Campaign, were "prohibited contributions." Cheatem, Post-27, et seq. EOH at 95. The Election Officer found that "the contributions [to TCFU] were the product of employer solicitations and/or employer-created schemes to inject employer and IBT funds into the Carey Campaign, as well as to induce individuals to contribute through the improper manipulation of IBT spending." Id. at 96. Furthermore, the Election Officer stated that "these were egregious violations by high level campaign functionaries who believed winning at all costs was more important than abiding by the [1996 Election Rules] and the law." Id. at 114. Based on these findings, the Election Officer issued her decision refusing to certify the results of the 1996 Election and ordering a new election for all positions except for Central Region Vice Presidents and the President of Teamsters Canada. Id., at 114-15.

 Two years ago this Court reviewed the proposed rules for the 1996 Election. At that time this Court stated that:

 
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. It cannot be said too often that 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. 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.

 August 22, 1995, Opinion & Order, 896 F. Supp. 1349, 1353 (S.D.N.Y. 1995), aff'd as modified, 86 F.3d 275 (2d Cir. 1996). As this Court has noted, the Consent Decree is "a unique attempt to cleanse this union." July 10, 1990, Opinion & Order, 742 F. Supp. at 97, aff'd as modified, 931 F.2d 177 (2d Cir. 1991). It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of maintaining free and democratic IBT elections. The election rules continue to be "the linchpin in that effort." Id. The 1996 Election Rules were intended to ensure an honest, fair, and free election. Unfortunately, noncompliance with the 1996 Election Rules by unscrupulous people has thwarted that objective. The sinister forces of corruption have again found a way to hamper IBT's progress toward a democratic Union, thus requiring this Court to reexamine the 1996 Election Rules and review the proposed changes for the now necessary Rerun Election. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that the process imposed by the Consent Decree was successful in that it exposed the contemptible parties thus preventing them from reaping the ...


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