Election Monitor Tries to Blackmail Congress

Michael G. Cherkasky, the court-appointed Teamsters election monitor sent a strongly-worded letter to U.S. District Judge David N. Edelstein on Jun. 24 threatening to end all federal supervision of the election unless the court can resolve a standoff over election funding. Cherkasky’s threats come on the heals of a major setback for taxpayers in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit refused to reconsider its Mar. 30 ruling that forces taxpayers to fund the upcoming rerun election.

Congress, led by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), passed legislation barring taxpayer funding of the rerun election because the nearly $20 million 1996 election was a disgrace and Congress is unconvinced that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent another corrupted election. The Justice Department, under Congressional pressure, has argued that the Teamsters should pay for the election. Cherkasky’s costs for the rerun is now estimated at $8.6 million which is up 16% from the $7.4 million estimate of earlier this year.
 
Cherkasky claimed, “it would be astounding and a stunning waste of decades of effort spent fighting organized crime…” In essence he is saying, unjustifiably, that if this falls apart, it’s Congress’ fault.

Cherkasky has $750,000 remaining to conduct basic operations for 14 weeks but not enough to contract for auditors, vote tabulators and other vendors. He demanded that Edelstein hold a hearing and resolve the funding issue by Jun. 30. [A.P. 06/25/98 & Wash. Post 06/26/98]