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The Prosecution and Persecution of Ron Carey | The Nation

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The Prosecution and Persecution of Ron Carey

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§ In an affidavit for Conboy's inquiry, Nash said he had a discussion with Carey regarding a contribution to Citizen Action that was part of the illegal swap. Nash claimed he told Carey the contribution would "help Davis with fundraising for the Carey campaign" and that Carey then O.K.'d the donation.

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David Corn
David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief. Until 2007, he was Washington editor of The Nation. He has written...

§ Nash said he discussed with Carey campaign fundraising conducted by officials of other unions, who under Teamsters rules are not allowed to solicit donations. And Nash claimed he showed Carey charts that listed these improper contributions.

§ In an interview with a Teamsters attorney in March 1997, as the scandal was unfolding, Bill Hamilton, the director of government affairs at the union, recalled that he spoke to Carey about the Teamsters contribution to Citizen Action.

§ In a sketchy two-page affidavit for Conboy's inquiry, Monie Simpkins, Carey's executive secretary, said that Nash had informed her about the illegal swaps when they were occurring and that she mentioned to Carey that Nash had spoken to her about Teamsters political contributions. Simpkins also claimed Carey approved, via the phone, four of these swap-related contributions.

That's basically it. There is no direct testimony that Carey had full (or near-to-full) knowledge or that he was an active plotter. And each one of these tidbits can be challenged.

Assume Nash did speak with Carey about the Citizen Action contribution. That does not mean Carey was told an illegal quid pro quo arrangement existed. If Nash told Carey that a contribution might assist fundraising, Carey could have thought that a legitimate contribution might produce a legitimate side benefit. For instance, a Carey fundraiser trying to shake a donation from a liberal funder could cite a Teamsters contribution to Citizen Action as proof Carey had transformed the union into a progressive outfit.

As for Nash's fundraising charts--which would be hard proof that Nash did inform Carey of illegal donations--they no longer exist, if they ever did. Nash said he destroyed all copies and deleted them from his computer. No other witness claims to have seen these charts.

The Hamilton statement is supposed to show that Carey was in the loop. But again, if true, it indicates at most that the Citizen Action contribution--not the swap--was mentioned to Carey. And Hamilton, in the same interview, explained that this one discussion occurred "very quickly" and fixed on the "concept," not the details of the donation.

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