Magazine article Insight on the News

Dirty DNC Money

Magazine article Insight on the News

Dirty DNC Money

Article excerpt

The cooperation of three Teamster felons with federal investigators finally may expose intricacies of Clinton/DNC campaign fund-raising. Look for big trouble.

Throughout 1997 and most of 1998, Capitol Hill has suffered a continuing series of rhetorical fistfights between Republicans and Democrats about campaign finance. Republicans slug away at stonewalling by the Democratic National Committee, or DNC, and the Clinton White House, which they claim have obstructed their fund-raising investigations. Democrats and White House operatives counterpunch with allegations that the Republican congressional majority is engaged in unjustified and purely partisan attacks. Neither combatant seems aware of the faint rumble of yet another fund-raising scandal already at ringside.

Overlooked in the various probes of the DNC and the Clinton/Gore campaign are records at the Federal Election Commission, or FEC, that show a pattern of behavior among confessed felons associated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union that may relate to other money scams already under investigation by the Department of Justice.

The first hint of a connection followed confessions to U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White of the Southern District of New York by three consultants to Ron Carey's 1996 campaign for Teamster president. Carey's campaign manager Jere Nash, telemarketer Michael Ansara and campaign consultant Martin Davis all pleaded guilty this year to felonies, including embezzlement, conspiracy and mail fraud. Insight has learned that under court order they recently paid nearly $1 million into a restitution fund to help defray the cost of the new Teamsters election made necessary by the corrupt Carey campaign they helped to run.

Based on dozens of interviews and a painstaking search of election documents during many months, Insight has developed a snapshot of this arcane world of campaign financing and, in turn, new clues concerning the fund-raising scandal now under scrutiny by committees of Congress, U.S. attorneys in several jurisdictions, the Justice Department and federal grand juries.

The story of the three Teamsters consultants, two of them partners, is one of political idealism, corruption and greed. R is a scenario in which otherwise law-abiding citizens were pushed into criminal enterprises that led to nullification of Carey's election to the top Teamsters job. It also is a story of dark links between one of the country's most powerful labor unions and the inner circles of the DNC and the 1996 Clinton/Gore campaign.

The first glimpse into the tangled webs of Teamster-associated deceit now spinning around the various 1996 fund-raising debacles came as a result of the Nov. 17, 1997, decision to disqualify Carey as a candidate in new court-ordered union elections. Court-appointed election officer Kenneth Conboy detailed six illegal-money schemes conceived by Nash, Davis and Ansara that were designed to funnel money back to the Carey campaign.

In total, these six schemes improperly raised $538,100 for the Carey campaign. But questions remain. Were the DNC and the Teamsters fund-raising scandals related in ways yet unreported? Equally important, were they unique or part of a broad pattern involving still others?

According to federal law-enforcement sources who spoke to Insight on the condition of anonymity, symbiotic schemes such as those engineered by Nash, Ansara and Davis may have been created throughout the 1996 presidential campaign illegally to assist both the Democratic Party and the Carey campaign.

Although White has not directly linked the illegal schemes of Nash, Ansara and Davis to the larger Clinton/Gore fund-raising scandals -- including foreign money and the possible compromise of national security -- she is continuing to investigate.

Clues abound, and the closeness of the felonious Teamsters consultants and the DNC continues. While awaiting sentencing, Ansara still is raising money for the DNC and providing high-priced advice. …

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