The Nation: A Teamster Apart

December 16, 2008: The rise and fall of Teamster reformer Ron Carey, who died December 11, is still a much contested tale. His political demise, a decade ago, was a tragedy for some and a case of hypocrisy punished to others. In the demonology of current Teamster leaders, Carey left the union in financial trouble and personal disgrace, after serving as president from 1992 to 1997. A jury later absolved him of criminal responsibility for the illegal fundraising activities of some of his supporters when he ran for re-election in 1996. Even though these backers enriched themselves without his knowledge or approval, the scandal gave Carey-bashers a damaging propaganda line: "Mr Clean" was a "fraud" and a "crook" himself, no better than any other Teamster bad guy ousted from the union, before or since.

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