Hoffa Tries to Skip on Campaign Debt

February 27, 2007: James Hoffa’s reelection campaign was the subject of a hearing before Election Appeals Master Kenneth Conboy on Feb. 21, after failing to pay $110,000 to consultants hired by the campaign last fall. They claim they are broke, though millionaires on their slate contributed as little as $5, $60, and even zero.

The Hoffa Slate twisted the arms of International reps, IBT organizers and staff, and local union officials to collectively kick in over $3 million—often in chunks of $2,000, the maximum allowed under the rules. But most slate members contributed little themselves. Now they want permission to write off the campaign debt.

Barbara Harvey, attorney for Teamsters for a Democratic Union, has argued before the Election Supervisor and Appeals Master that it is illegal for Hoffa to accept contributions from employers and non-Teamster consultants like Richard Leebove and that the Hoffa campaign must pay its debt.

Leebove was banned from the 1998 IBT campaign for an illegal $167,000 employer contribution, and suspended from the 2001 campaign for hinting to IBT vendors they better donate to Hoffa to keep the business flowing.

Millionaires Can’t Afford a Dime?
Hoffa’s attorney, David Hoffa (son of James Hoffa), claims they just cannot afford to pay up, they are all tapped out. However, a review of the campaign documents shows that many of the millionaires on Hoffa’s slate hardly contributed a thing to their campaign, while demanding thousands from their staff!

John Coli, who bagged $362,000 from members’ dues in 2005, contributed $0 to the campaign. So did Carroll Haynes, another millionaire. Fred Gegare (total compensation $262,000) was able to muster just $5 for the campaign. John Murphy topped that with a total of $20, and Tom Keegel donated a grand total of $60.

Some slate members, like Jim Santangelo ($283,000 total compensation in 2005) reached $1,020 in contributions. James Hoffa contributed just $3,500, and 20(!) members of his slate contributed less than that. The maximum allowed from candidates was $10,000, and all these folks can afford that without denting their accounts.

So, millionaires who contributed $5 want to take employer contributions for their campaign, after extorting $2,000 donations from local officials across the country. Is that do-what-I-say-and-not-what-I-do or what?

All these figures come from official Campaign Contribution and Expense Reports, signed under penalty of perjury, by the candidates themselves.

The complete list of the 29 Hoffa slate candidates and their total donations to their campaign is available online at www.tdu.org or contact Teamsters for a Democratic Union for a copy.

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