Panel Questions Link of Clinton, Union Chief FBI Tied Labor Leader to Organized Crime

By Ap | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Panel Questions Link of Clinton, Union Chief FBI Tied Labor Leader to Organized Crime


Ap, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


President Bill Clinton maintained a social and fund-raising relationship with the head of a union after the FBI told the White House counsel's office the labor leader had ties to organized crime, documents show.

But a former FBI official testified Wednesday that the Laborers' International Union, headed by Arthur A. Coia, got no special deal in its anti-corruption agreement with the Justice Department. Under the agreement last year, the union began to weed out lieutenants who were linked to the mob from its ranks and hold direct elections of its officers to head off criminal prosecution.

Republicans began to raise questions about whether the agreement was too soft after Coia was seated at Clinton's table at a Democratic fund-raising gala in May. Coia is on the executive council of the AFL-CIO, which plans to spend $35 million on politics this election year and opposes much of the Republican agenda.

Coia's union gave $1.1 million to Democratic candidates in the 1994 elections. Clinton gave Coia a golf club in a 1994 Oval Office meeting, and Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed a Laborers' union conference the same year.

At a politically charged hearing Wednesday by the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, panel Chairman Rep. …

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