A Teamsters presidential candidate urged former President Carter on Saturday to oversee the rerun of union elections overturned because of alleged fundraising abuses in incumbent Ron Carey’s campaign.
Candidate James P. Hoffa accused the current election overseer, who has said she may step down, of creating a “climate of lawlessness” in the earlier election.
The court-appointed monitor, Barbara Zack Quindel, cited the alleged financial irregularities Aug. 22 in throwing out the union’s election results.
In a television interview Saturday, Hoffa said he wants Carter to monitor the new election between the two candidates.
“I am reaching out and contacting former President Jimmy Carter to ask that he be appointed to oversee the rerun election, as he did in Bosnia, as he did in Haiti, to make sure that we have a fair election,” Hoffa said on CNN’s “Evans & Novak.”
Representatives of the former president could not be reached either at the Carter Center in Atlanta or at Carter’s home in Plains, Ga.
Quindel based her decision to throw out last December’s election after an investigation that found more than $220,000 in improper contributions to Carey’s campaign. She said in a statement Friday that she is “committed to remain as election officer until the rerun election process is put in place” but is thinking about resigning afterward.
“I live with my husband and two children in Milwaukee, so I am considering whether, for family reasons, I will ask the judge to appoint a new election officer to oversee the rerun,” Quindel said.
Although Quindel found no direct involvement by Carey in fund-raising schemes, Hoffa contended the union president should be barred from running again because of the alleged violations.
Hoffa criticized Quindel for what he characterized as slack supervision of the Carey campaign.
‘She created a climate of lawlessness during the election,” Hoffa said.
“It was only when we filed the protests … that she had to kind of ‘fess up finally,” he said. “I put a lot of blame on her for not reining in the Ron Carey campaign that ran amok.”
He also criticized Quindel for not invalidating the election sooner.
“I believe that the minute she had that information, she should have gone out immediately and got that information out, whatever it is,” he said. “Let the chips fall where they may.”
Quindel said she decided on a new election shortly after the Teamsters began a strike Aug. 4 against United Parcel Service. She delayed the announcement to avoid making it a factor in the labor-management dispute, she said.
Susan Rosenberg, a UPS spokeswoman, said her company also was unhappy with Quindel’s timing.
“We thought it was very inappropriate that she had interjected herself in the process,” Rosenberg said.
Carey narrowly defeated Hoffa in December in the second contest for the union’s leadership held since the Teamsters signed a consent decree with the Justice Department in 1988.
That deal called for direct elections by the union’s 1.4 million members to help stamp out rampant corruption. The 1996 race was underwritten with $22 million in public funds.
The FBI has charged Washington political consultant Martin Davis with using his contracts with both the union and Carey’s campaign to skim money from the Teamsters’ general treasury and funnel the cash to Carey’s coffers.
Carey himself has not been accused of wrongdoing.