Even though he endorsed Cong. Richard Gephardt (D-MO) for President on Aug. 9, Intl. Bhd. Of Teamsters president James Hoffa told the Detroit News a week later that he has received a proposal to end the Federal government’s 14-year supervision of the union. That would likely mean an end to federal supervision of union elections. The deal would also likely replace the Independent Rev. Bd. (IRB) with an internal ethics officer to keep organized crime figures out of the union hierarchy.
The Intl. Bhd. of Teamsters has functioned under the supervision of the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Sou. Dist. of NY since 1989. The IBT hierarchy agreed to settle a complaint by then-U.S. Attny. Rudolph Giuliani that racketeers affiliated with the Cosa Nostra organized crime enterprise completely controlled the union. Under the consent decree, the IRB was formed with broad powers of investigation over the Intl. and its affiliates, even to override internal decisions by the union hierarchy. The IRB continues its work under the supervision of U.S. Dist. Judge Loretta A. Preska (S.D.NY, G.H.W. Bush).
In his Aug. 21st column for the Chicago Sun-Times, syndicated columnist Robert Novak wrote that “no realist could imagine the Teamsters union not endorsing Gephardt, who attended law school with Hoffa and has gone down the line for the union’s full agenda.” But if Gephardt does not win the Democrat party nomination, both “the Bush and Hoffa camps think at least neutrality and even a Bush endorsement is possible.”
According to Hoffa, the offer came from the ofc. of U.S. Attny. James B. Comey. Any deal to end federal control would need to be approved by Judge Preska.