Serial No. 105-134


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce



Friday, July 24, 1998

House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Oversight and


Committee on Education and

the Workforce,

Washington, D.C.







Table of Indexes *

The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:38 a.m., in Room 2175 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Pete Hoekstra [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.


Present: Representatives Hoekstra, Hilleary, Ballenger, Schaffer, Parker, Mink, Scott, and Kind.


Also present: Representative Clay.


Staff Present: Robert Borden, Professional Staff; Rebecca Campoverde, Professional Staff; Patrick Lyden, Staff Assistant; Dan Anderson, Joe diGenova, John Loesch, Michael Quickel, Michael Reynard, Lisa Rich, Philip Smith, August Stofferahn, Dan Sullivan, Victoria Toensing, Jean Pirak, Gail Weiss, Minority Staff Director; Mark Zuckerman, Minority General Counsel; Cedric R. Hendricks, Minority Deputy Counsel; Brian Compagnone, Minority Staff Assistant; Jim Jordan, Minority Director of Communications/Special Counsel; Cassandra Lentchner, Minority Special Counsel/Investigations; Michael Berlin, Minority Counsel; Gregory Jefferson, Minority Counsel; John W. Lee, Minority Senior Investigator; Patrick Dugan, Minority GAO Detailee, and Darryl Chang, Minority GAO Detailee.



Chairman Hoekstra. [presiding] Good morning. The subcommittee will come to order.

In a hearing in May, this subcommittee heard from Tom Sever, who is the acting president of the IBT, who tried to impress us with how the willing the IBT is to cooperate with this investigation. Unfortunately, our experience has been otherwise.


The IBT has refused to allow us to interview its senior officials. It has refused to allow us to interview its outside auditors and actuaries. It has refused to allow its former law firm and a private investigator to turn over documents we have subpoenaed.


This morning, I'm happy to say, we will hear from a witness who knows the Marble palace from the inside and who is willing to cooperate with this investigation. Mr. Belk has been a Teamster for 20 years. He worked as a dock worker and fork-lift operator for a trucking company in Memphis for 13-and-a-half years. He was elected as a regional vice president of the IBT in 1991, running on the Ron Carey slate, and came to Washington to work on the Carey transition team. He was later made the executive assistant to Carey. Consequently, Mr. Belk was present and working in a position of considerable authority and trust during a time when several developments occurred that are of critical interest to this investigation.


As we'll hear this morning, one of those episodes involved the scheme to launder money from the IBT's treasury into Carey's 1996 re-election campaign--a scheme Mr. Belk refused to take part in.

Mr. Belk also served from the fall of 1992 until early 1995 as the administrator of the IBT's Ethical Practices Committee, which was created to receive and investigate complaints about corruption in various union locals around the country.

Mr. Belk was appointed executive assistant to Ron Carey in January 1994, and therefore, was in that position during the time when the Independent Review Board was investigating allegations that Carey, himself, might have ties to organized crime.


So, I look forward to Mr. Belk's appearance here this morning. I not only appreciate his willingness to be here voluntarily, but I applaud his courage in supporting the goal of a democratic union.


Good morning, Ms. Mink.

Mrs. Mink. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have no opening statement. I will reserve time at the close. Thank you.

Chairman Hoekstra. Given the time constraints, I appreciate that. Thank you.


I would ask that members insert their written statements into the record. I will hold the record open for three days in order to accommodate those members who may not have prepared statements.



Chairman Hoekstra. I also recognize the gentleman from Tennessee for the purpose of offering a motion.

Mr. Hill. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


I move, pursuant to clause 2(j)(2)(b) of House rules, that the chairman and the ranking minority member of the subcommittee be permitted to question the witness during this hearing for one-half hour each. Following this period of questioning, the standard five-minute rule shall apply.

Chairman Hoekstra. Without objection.

Mrs. Mink. Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object, I assume that in the 30 minutes that I will have, I'm free to yield to any member on the minority side?

Chairman Hoekstra. That's fine with me.

Mrs. Mink. Thank you.

Chairman Hoekstra. Perfectly agreeable.

Mrs. Mink. Withdrawing my reservation.

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.


Our witness today is Mr. Aaron Belk. He is the vice president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Mr. Belk, welcome. Thank you for being here. We typically ask witnesses to summarize their testimony, but you have a fairly brief opening statement, so I'm sure that you'll be able to read it, or as much of it as you want, and you can insert it into the record.


Before receiving your testimony, we'll ask you to take an oath. You should be aware that it is illegal to make a false statement to Congress while under oath. In light of this, will you please rise and raise your right hand?

[Witness sworn.]

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Let the record reflect that the witness has answered in the affirmative.

Mr. Belk, you are recognized for your opening statement.




Mr. Belk. As you indicated time constraints, I have two: an oral statement and a written statement.

Chairman Hoekstra. You give your oral statement which will be, obviously, read into the record, and your written statement will be inserted in its entirety into the record. Thank you.


One last thing, I think you are going to have to pull the microphone up just a little bit closer.

Mr. Belk. Thank you.


My name is Aaron Belk. I am a member of Teamsters Local 667 in Memphis, Tennessee. I live in Walls, Mississippi with my wife, Becky, and our two sons, Chance and Dustin.


The committee is aware that General President Ron Carey directed all employees of the IBT to cooperate fully with the various investigations that were, and continue to be, ongoing regarding the overturn re-run of the 1996 International Officer Elections. I have, I am, and I will continue to follow that directive from General President Ron Carey.


I come here today at your request to answer questions related to my role as executive assistant to the general president for the southern region vice president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. I am hopeful that my testimony here today will shine light into areas that will help clarify questions concerning matters before the subcommittee.


I did not wish to burden the record of this subcommittee by re-hashing statements that you've already heard. I'm not one that likes to do that. I feel my record speaks for itself. However, I have submitted a written statement and other materials, as your July 16, 1998 letter from Chairman Hoekstra requested, and I hope all of you have had time to review those submissions.


Now having completed those opening comments, I am prepared to answer questions. Thank you.




Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you very much. That was quick.

Without objection, all documents referenced in today's hearing also shall be included in the record. No objection.

Thank you, Mr. Belk.

Mr. Belk. One request, if I might--

Chairman Hoekstra. Yes.

Mr. Belk. I would like to receive a complete copy of the transcript and all documents that are presented here today.

Chairman Hoekstra. Without objection. It will be the public record and we will make sure, specifically, that you receive a copy of the materials. Thank you.


I'll begin with my 30 minutes of questions. From January of 1994 until Mr. Carey took a leave of absence from his position as president of the IBT, it's correct that you served as Mr. Carey's executive assistant?

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Chairman Hoekstra. Can you describe your duties in that office?

Mr. Belk. The duties of the executive assistant are pretty broad. What you do is you take care of a lot of the paperwork, paper flow, that comes through the general president's office and act in his behalf when he's away; bring things or matters to his attention that should be brought to his attention. They may need further debate or clarity before approval. All hiring documents; requests for meetings; travel; almost everything that the IBT does that would exceed $500 in nature would come through the executive assistant's office for review; some re-discussion; followup; alteration, to bring it within line within the policies and guidelines of the international.

Chairman Hoekstra. Are you still serving in the position or in the office of executive assistant?

Mr. Belk. No, not at the current time.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you have a good relationship with Mr. Carey when you took over that position?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I did.

Chairman Hoekstra. It is my understanding that you were a political ally of Mr. Carey and you've had a very good working relationship; correct?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you ever run for international office on anyone else's slate?

Mr. Belk. No.

Chairman Hoekstra. Is it true that, despite your good working relationship with Ron Carey, and your political support of him, you were not permitted to see bills incurred by the IBT's legal department?

Mr. Belk. The bills from the IBT legal department were reviewed by the IBT general counsel and the general president, as far as my knowledge.

Chairman Hoekstra. Then you did not see those bills?

Mr. Belk. No, unless they would be pertaining to something that I was working on.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay. If the bills from the legal department were being incurred for legal purposes and were consistent with Mr. Carey's objectives, would there have been any reason for anyone to keep them from you? I mean, did you authorize payments for all other bills?

Mr. Belk. Almost all of the bills. The legal bills are somewhat different because the general president may be aware of different things that the union was doing in conjunction with legal counsel that I may not have been aware of.

Chairman Hoekstra. Would there have been any reason for anyone to keep these bills from you?

Mr. Belk. No.

Chairman Hoekstra. Would it be fair to say that the legal department under Judy Scott ran its own operation and was not accountable to you or the elected general executive board or anyone else in the union except Mr. Carey?

Mr. Belk. The legal department was somewhat separate, and as far as my office was concerned in overseeing departments, which is normally within my area as executive assistant, the legal department was somewhat different. I had no overview of what the legal department did, other than requests that I would send them and followup on getting things back.

Chairman Hoekstra. Who, exactly, had oversight responsibilities for the legal department?

Mr. Belk. Well, at various stages while I was executive assistant, Judy Scott was the general counsel and she oversaw the operation of that area of the IBT.

Chairman Hoekstra. What types of power did Judy Scott have?

Mr. Belk. The general counsel has the authority to draft documents and make decisions regarding legal matters, hiring outside attorneys to follow up on different litigation, to assign attorneys to various negotiations--division work, department directors--as needed. All outside use of attorneys that may be needed anywhere in the downline of the division or the department in working in the field operation would go through the legal department and would have gone through Judy Scott at that time for approval prior to the hiring of an outside legal--

Chairman Hoekstra. Did Judy Scott have signatory power of the president of the IBT?

Mr. Belk. Yes, she did.

Chairman Hoekstra. Before being hired by Ron Carey, was Judy Scott a member or employee of the IBT?

Mr. Belk. She was employed as exec--pardon. What were you saying, prior to--

Chairman Hoekstra. Prior to being hired by the IBT, was she a member or an employee? Before she was hired by Ron Carey, was she a member or an employee of the IBT?

Mr. Belk. I'm not aware of whether Ron Carey hired her, but, no, to my knowledge, she came from outside the Teamsters Union.

Chairman Hoekstra. Do you know where she came from?

Mr. Belk. No. Now, I know formerly she had worked for the Mine Workers as general counsel, I believe, and has extensive knowledge of the ``Washington environment.''

Chairman Hoekstra. Is it true before Judy Scott came to the IBT, she was a close associate of Richard Trumka, who is the current secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, who has invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify before a Federal Grand Jury and the subcommittee to look into the illegal swap schemes?

Mr. Belk. I think Judy did work for the Mine Workers and Mr. Trumka was the president. So, I would assume there was a relationship there, I guess.

Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Belk, you previously served as administrator of the IBT's Ethical Practice Committee; is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Right.

Chairman Hoekstra. During what time period did you hold the administrator position?

Mr. Belk. From October 1992 until early 1995.

Chairman Hoekstra. What were your duties as administrator?

Mr. Belk. As administrator, I received all complaints that came in through the EPC; reviewed those complaints to see if they fell within the guidelines of the EPC. If they did not, I would refer those back or talk to the members or the person that sent the complaint in and advise them where they should file their complaint.

Chairman Hoekstra. How did the Ethical Practices Committee function, in general terms?

Mr. Belk. We received complaints either by mail or by phone. As administrator, I was one person running that at the time with one secretary, and early on, no counsel that was actually assigned primarily to do that job. Later on, we did get counsel. We received complaints and acted on complaints.

Chairman Hoekstra. How would you describe your participation on the Ethical Practices Committee? Was it a very much ``hands-on'' or a distance relationship?

Mr. Belk. Very hands-on. I usually started early in the morning and worked usually until 11:00 or midnight at night, every day--following-up on weekends a lot of times on complaints with members and with the various shifts they worked, the only time you could reach them.

Chairman Hoekstra. You were intimately involved with most, if not all, of the cases; is that not correct, even receiving and accepting phone calls from rank-and-file Teamsters to talk about these issues in these cases?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. During your time as administrator, did the EPC ever hire outside investigators to provide assistance?

Mr. Belk. I personally never hired anybody.

Chairman Hoekstra. During your time as administrator, did the EPC ever retain outside counsel?

Mr. Belk. To my understanding, the EPC did acquire outside counsel.

Chairman Hoekstra. You did hire outside counsel?

Mr. Belk. I did not.

Chairman Hoekstra. You did not. Okay.

I want to direct your attention to exhibit 1. Do you know who hired the outside counsel when it was done? Before you go to the exhibit, when the Ethical Practices Committee did hire outside, who hired the outside counsel?

Mr. Belk. I would assume any outside counsel that was hired in conjunction would have been done through the IBT legal department.

Chairman Hoekstra. Are you aware of any outside counsel that was hired by Judy Scott?

Mr. Belk. In retrospect, yes--now, I suppose, but, at the time, no.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay. I want to direct your attention to exhibit 1, which is an affidavit filed on September 12, 1996 by Charles Ruff in a civil action brought by a union member against the union, seeking certain documents related to service performed for the IBT by the law firm Covington and Burling and the investigative firm Palladino and Sutherland. Mr. Ruff, a former partner with Covington and Burling, states in the third paragraph, ``As part of the firm's representation of the IBT, it also served as counsel to the IBT's Ethical Practices Committee.''

Mr. Belk, you were administrator of the Ethical Practices Committee; did Charles Ruff and/or Covington and Burling do any work for the Ethical Practices Committee?

Mr. Belk. Not for me while I was EPC administrator, no.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you ever see any reports drafted by Mr. Ruff or Covington and Burling regarding anti-corruption efforts?

Mr. Belk. None that I recall.

Chairman Hoekstra. In paragraph No. 4 of Mr. Ruff's affidavit, he states, ``In connection with the firm's representation of the IBT and its service as counsel to the Ethical Practices Committee, Palladino and Sutherland provided confidential investigative services to the firm in support of the firm's advice and assistance to the IBT in its anti-corruption efforts.''


While you were administrator of the Ethical Practices Committee, did Palladino and Sutherland and/or Jack Palladino provide any investigative services to the Ethical Practices Committee?

Mr. Belk. No, not to me, and I never heard their names mentioned until newspaper articles recently.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did that surprise you?

Mr. Belk. Surprise me that there was newspaper articles?

Chairman Hoekstra. That newspaper articles referenced that they were doing work for you or that they were doing work for the Ethical Practices Committee?

Mr. Belk. In the anti-corruption areas, it did.

Chairman Hoekstra. I now want to direct your attention to exhibit 2. Exhibit 2 is a 29-page privilege log provided to the subcommittee by Covington and Burling in response to a subpoena issued to that firm on April 20, 1998. This log lists numerous documents that are responsive to the subcommittee subpoena that are being withheld at the direction of the IBT based on claims of attorney-client and work product privileges and confidentiality.


If you would look specifically at pages 15 through 19, you will notice that many entrees in this log describe ethical practices, committee materials which the IBT provided to Covington and Burling. On page 19, a memorandum is listed which references legal issues and advice for requests regarding the Ethical Practices Committee. Do you know what Mr. Ruff and Mr. Palladino could have been doing for the IBT?

Mr. Belk. In reference to the EPC part of it, I do not.

Chairman Hoekstra. Are you aware that in 1994 Ron Carey was defending himself against charges brought against him by the IRB?

Mr. Belk. I'm aware that from day one we got at the IBT we were defending ourselves against everything--an onslaught over everything.

Chairman Hoekstra. All right.

Mr. Belk. That particular one, I don't separate it out from anything else.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay. Please look at the last entry of the first page of the privilege log. It appears to be a memorandum from N. T. Halvorson to Charles Ruff, dated April 23, 1994, regarding an IRB inquiry and draft documentation. Do you know whether that deals with Ron Carey's personal defense before the IRB?

Mr. Belk. I'm not aware that I know which document you're speaking of. Is there a page number on it?

Chairman Hoekstra. The last entry on the first page of the privilege log.

Mr. Belk. Okay, it lists 10 total pages. Is that the one you're speaking of on the first page at the very bottom?

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay, it appears to be a memorandum from N.T. Halvorson.

Mr. Belk. Okay, I've got it.

Chairman Hoekstra. You've got it? Okay.

Mr. Belk. Total pages is 10, and what was the question?

Chairman Hoekstra. Do you know whether that deals with Ron Carey's personal defense before the IRB?

Mr. Belk. That's what the description indicates on the document.

Chairman Hoekstra. But you're not familiar with the document any more than that?

Mr. Belk. No. First time I've ever seen this particular--

Chairman Hoekstra. Does it look like it could be work for the Ethical Practices Committee?

Mr. Belk. No, it does not.

Chairman Hoekstra. Are you aware that Mr. Ruff was paid $250,000 by the IBT and that $150,000 of that went to Jack Palladino?

Mr. Belk. I'm aware from newspaper articles that I read.

Chairman Hoekstra. Do you know whether they were charging by--do you know what their method of charging was? Whether it was by the hour or a fixed rate?

Mr. Belk. Usually, our attorneys either charge a set fee, plus, if it goes over that, by the hourly rate.

Chairman Hoekstra. You do not know how this firm was charging?

Mr. Belk. No, I don't.

Chairman Hoekstra. If they were charging by the hour, that would amount to literally months of full-time work. Is it your testimony that you never saw one report or heard one minute of work Mr. Ruff or Mr. Palladino did for the Ethical Practices Committee, as Mr. Ruff claims under oath?

Mr. Belk. I only met him once and never had any discussions with him about the EPC or any work product done by the EPC.

Chairman Hoekstra. One more question on the privilege log: If you look at pages 2 and 3, there appears the name Rosalie Labbate on several occasions. Do you know who Rosalie is?

Mr. Belk. The particular name listed here did not trigger any knowledge of that particular person until someone indicated that that was the name given to a person that I knew by the name of Ros.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay.

Mr. Belk. If that is the person, then I suppose I know her. But, by this name, I don't.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay. Did you know that Ms. Labbate owned real estate with Mr. Carey, that was one of the subjects of the IRB investigation into Mr. Carey?

Mr. Belk. No, I did not.

Chairman Hoekstra. Do you know who Ros is? Do you know whether Ros is the same person as Rosalie Labbate?

Mr. Belk. I couldn't swear to that, no.

Chairman Hoekstra. Article IX of the IBT constitution, exhibit 4, requires approval by the general executive board before funds can be spent from the general fund for legal fees for an officer of the union. Did the general executive board ever approve such expenditures for Mr. Carey?

Mr. Belk. I don't recall an approval, no.

Chairman Hoekstra. Were you generally present at the general executive board meetings?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I've been to every meeting every day. I haven't missed a day since being elected.

Chairman Hoekstra. And you were elected in?

Mr. Belk. 1991, and took office in 1992.

Chairman Hoekstra. And so, you've been at every meeting and you do not recall that decision ever coming up or being approved at an executive board meeting?

Mr. Belk. Not while I was in session. There have been times in subcommittee meetings where something may have been discussed that I'm not aware of, but it certainly wasn't brought to my attention.

Chairman Hoekstra. Let me just go back a minute to--does the Ros that you know, does she work at the IBT?

Mr. Belk. No, she worked on the campaign in 1991-1992.

Chairman Hoekstra. All right, thank you.

Apparently, the only documents from Mr. Palladino in the possession of Mr. Ruff's former firm, Covington and Burling, are bills for his services. However, we have received information that nine boxes of relevant material were apparently transferred to Howry and Simon when Mr. Ruff left his firm. It is highly unusual to transfer materials belonging to a client, to an attorney that is not even taking over the representation. This transfer raises a question of whether these documents were being transferred to avoid future subpoenas.


Would you know why these documents were transferred?

Mr. Belk. No.

Chairman Hoekstra. Why were you replaced as the administrator of the Ethical Practices Committee?

Mr. Belk. Why?

Chairman Hoekstra. Yes.

Mr. Belk. I think, early on during the campaign in 1991, part of the reason I ran with Ron Carey was to change the image of the Teamsters Union. It was a way to do that and I think Ron realized that. And when the position was opened, he offered me that, and I enjoyed the opportunity to take it. I think that's the reason I got that position.

Chairman Hoekstra. Then, why were you replaced?

Mr. Belk. Well, there was a conflict in the rules. When I became executive assistant in January of 1994, I brought it to the attention that there was a conflict in the rules in the separation of power, so-to-speak, in the EPC and the general president's office. Being the executive assistant, I was wearing two hats that are not supposed to be worn, in my opinion, at the same time.


There are some separation of the--from the investigative work and what the EPC does in recommendations that it makes to the general president's office. And being the administrator, processing both pieces of that work product is not in compliance with the true intentions of the rules of the EPC.

Chairman Hoekstra. Was there ever any debate--well, there probably was debate about maybe some of the decisions of an Ethical Practices Committee, but did you try to run this without political blinders on?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I think if you contacted most of the people I dealt with, they would indicate that. I was very fair. I tried to keep all the politics out of what was going on. There were times when members and officers, at times of elections of the locals, when they would submit charges you had to be very careful looking at those--take a look at if there was an election process ongoing, if those were frivolous charges or just charges looking for the committee to initiate an investigation that would be detrimental to an individual's campaign. That's something I looked at very closely and tried to avoid.


There was times when that did happen. But, certainly, I tried to avoid that. Sometimes you get complaints. You have to move forward and investigate them to find out whether they have relevance.

Chairman Hoekstra. Were there occasions or were there individuals who thought that maybe the Ethical Practices Committee should be run with more of a political bend to it?

Mr. Belk. I suppose in any forum such as that you'd have individuals that would have that opinion, but certainly it didn't happen while I was there.

Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Belk, I'd like to ask you about the strike against the Detroit newspapers. It is my understanding that the strike which began in July of 1995 initially involved about 1,500 IBT members. It is also my understanding more than half of the strikers have either returned to work, left the Detroit area, found other full-time jobs, or died. As a result, less than 700 of the original strikers now receive any strike benefits. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. That's a little bit better information than I have on the final total currently.

Chairman Hoekstra. All right. While you were executive assistant to the president of the IBT, how much money did the IBT spend on the strike?

Mr. Belk. I would say the figure is in the millions. An exact figure, I couldn't put a number on.

Chairman Hoekstra. It's multiple millions, perhaps approaching $10 to $12 million. Is that a reasonable estimate?

Mr. Belk. Well, I think that if you take a look at the strike and the total involvement of the entire IBT and the local unions, it is really difficult to put a figure on it overall.

Chairman Hoekstra. One of the reasons that it may be difficult to put a number on what the total number was, do you know what the money was spent on?

Mr. Belk. The money that the IBT sent was in conjunction with the Adopt-A-Family-type program to raise funds to initiate additional payments to strike benefits in assistance to strikers. The GEB voted on that in increments of $500,000 at a time to provide additional assistance to the strikers, that in conjunction with food banks and moving foods and other support materials from various place around the country into Detroit.

Chairman Hoekstra. I ask you take a look at exhibit No. 8. Exhibit No. 8 is a memorandum from Tom Sever to Ron Carey, dated April 10, 1997. In that memorandum, Mr. Sever writes, ``I've made three written requests to the Adopt-A-Family program asking them to provide us with documentation of how our contributions to the program thus far have been spent. I have not, however, received any response or accounting of these funds, which currently exceed $3 million.''



Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Belk, you were copied on this memorandum. Do you recall seeing it?

Mr. Belk. Yes, sir, I do.

Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Belk, the Adopt-A-Family was only part of the Detroit strike effort and only accounts for a fraction of the IBT's funds spent on the strike. Is that also correct?

Mr. Belk. The total cost would be the accumulated cost of strike benefits. The reason, I said before, it's hard to put a dollar figure on it because there was a lot of different assists programs going on internally in the union, not only from the IBT, but from joint-council and local union levels. We had purchased a truck to help move supplies from various parts of the country.


I am aware of this memo and the concern the general secretary-treasurer had, as myself and others.

Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Severs indicating that he would like an accounting, do you know if there was anyone on the IBT that has an accounting of the millions of dollars spent on the Detroit strike?

Mr. Belk. I do know that the general secretary-treasurer audited the two local Teamsters locally involved. I never received any followup on this particular letter. But, I've never seen any documentation on it either.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you personally try to find out how the money was spent?

Mr. Belk. Yes. I had asked for oral presentations to the board from the people that we had on the ground in Detroit and raised that in the subcommittee, as other members did, about getting accounting on the funds that had been sent there.

Chairman Hoekstra. And did you get an accounting?

Mr. Belk. No, we did not.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you have contact with Mr. Burke about this?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I did. I asked him to come to two different board meetings to make an oral report.

Chairman Hoekstra. And Mr. Burke's response? Did he ever make the oral report to you or to--

Mr. Belk. That was about the time the subcommittee was put in place and there was no oral report given other than the director's report.

Chairman Hoekstra. So you never got a good accounting of where that money was being spent either?

Mr. Belk. No, I've never seen any line-item description of where the funds were spent.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did the subcommittee take any follow-up action?

Mr. Belk. Yes, we made some recommendations at the last two board meetings which were adopted at the last board meeting.

Chairman Hoekstra. Those were adopted? When was the last board meeting?

Mr. Belk. Just this week--earlier this week.

Chairman Hoekstra. So, the subcommittee made recommendations, but the subcommittee has not received an accounting of the funds that may have been spent in 1995, 1996, or 1997, up to this point?

Mr. Belk. No.

Chairman Hoekstra. What was Mr. Burke's position?

Mr. Belk. He is the special assistant to the general president, I believe is his current title.

Chairman Hoekstra. Do you know if Mr. Burke is an associate of Richard Trumka, the secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I know they are friends.

Chairman Hoekstra. Do you know if they had a working relationship in the past?

Mr. Belk. Yes, they've had--

Chairman Hoekstra. What was that relationship?

Mr. Belk. He worked for the Mine Workers and Richard Trumka in the past.

Chairman Hoekstra. I want to yield to Mr. Parker the balance of my time for right now.

Mr. Parker. I thank the chairman.

One thing that I'm very interested in when you look at the logs, I think that is exhibit 2, and you see this name Rosalie Labbate, you said that she did not work for the IBT. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. That's correct.

Mr. Parker. Is there any reason why she would--it appears to me that this is some type of legal work that was done for her or concerning her. Is there any reason for that?

Mr. Belk. Any comment I would have on this document would be pure speculation. This is the first time I've seen it.

Mr. Parker. Did she do anything for the Ethical Practices Committee?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mr. Parker. So, she had no relationship with the committee at all?

Mr. Belk. No, none.

Mr. Parker. Okay. Was she involved in any way with any type of anti-corruption activity with the IBT?

Mr. Belk. I'm not aware of anything that she did for the IBT.

Mr. Parker. Okay, so there was no relationship there at all? So, according to your normal rules within the IBT, you would not be doing work for someone with that who did not have any connection with the IBT? You wouldn't be doing legal work?

Mr. Belk. Yes, the legal part of the IBT work would be under the supervision of the general counsel.

Mr. Parker. Well, do you know of any instances where any person that the IBT hired outside counsel for someone who didn't work for the IBT? I mean, is there any instance--

Mr. Belk. Yes, I do.

Mr. Parker. Okay.

Mr. Belk. With the EPC--I think I'm aware of that. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I know we had some problems where a member filed complaints and received a lot of retaliation from the officers as a result of filing his complaint--was abused physically and verbally, and sued. I think that the IBT did provide some assistance to that individual to stop the chilling effect that it would have if the member was retaliated against in that way.

Mr. Parker. Okay, so that person was a Teamster?

Mr. Belk. Teamster member, yes.

Mr. Parker. Okay, so it was a member of the Teamsters. Well, my question is: Was Rosalie Labbate a member of the Teamsters?

Mr. Belk. Not to my knowledge. She could be--I don't know.

Mr. Parker. I thank the chairman.

Chairman Hoekstra. The gentleman's time has expired. The minority will now be recognized for 35 minutes.

Mrs. Mink. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

The subcommittee is much obliged--

Chairman Hoekstra. Unanimous consent.

Mrs. Mink. Thank you--accepted.

The subcommittee is much obliged to you for voluntarily coming to this hearing today to discuss matters that relate to the operations of the Teamsters as they relate to the activity of the 1996 election, which eventually resulted in Mr. Carey having to be deposed.


I understand that you've had numerous discussions with the members of the majority of this subcommittee, as well as their staff. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. I have had discussions with anybody that asked to speak to me, yes.

Mrs. Mink. And in all of the discussions with the majority members and their staff, were you in any way counseled by the IBT officials or legal people not to converse with the majority--

Mr. Belk. No, I was not.

Mrs. Mink. Members of the subcommittee?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mrs. Mink. So, you went freely and knowingly? The IBT knew that you were meeting with the majority members. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. I had relayed that to the general president's office, his executive assistant--the acting general president at this time--yes.

Mrs. Mink. Did they urge you not to go, not to cooperate?

Mr. Belk. No, they didn't.

Mrs. Mink. Not to provide information that you are aware of?

Mr. Belk. No, they did not.

Mrs. Mink. So, you're here. You met with them voluntarily and you're here voluntarily. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. That's correct.

Mrs. Mink. And you are currently regarded as an officer of the IBT. Is that true?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I'm currently still serving as southern region vice president.

Mrs. Mink. And you serve in that capacity, then, on the executive board of the IBT. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Mrs. Mink. So, the general impression that has been made over and over again is the stonewalling, reluctance on the part of IBT and their officers to provide relevant information, is that your current impression of IBT and how it is reacting to this subcommittee and its inquiry about the 1996 elections?

Mr. Belk. I know the IBT has issued or given up probably 50,000 or more documents. I'm not in the middle of that--making decisions on what is given to the committee and what's not given to the committee.

Mrs. Mink. Well, one of the major controversies is the matter of the executive board meetings being taped.

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. And the officers of the IBT and their legal counsel have insisted that there is much privileged information in the board discussions that are now taped or recorded in the tapes. Do you share that concern that the divulsion of the materials in the tapes, as discussions that took place in the executive board would be damaging to the IBT, as a union, if they were disclosed?

Mr. Belk. I think there are things on the tapes that might be damaging to strikes, corporate campaigns that we have had ongoing, other long-term goals, yes.

Mrs. Mink. The discussions, for instance, in the executive board relative to a strike strategy, would you consider that inappropriate for public disclosure?

Mr. Belk. It would be a problem if, for instance--I'll take UPS for example, we had some special executive board meetings during that time. It would have been an extremely difficult thing to have recordings of those meetings disseminated in the press. It would be somewhat similar to in Desert Storm if they walk up to that affair--if the press was allowed to disseminate all of the pre-discussions on that and the strategies and laying out exactly what would be done--

Mrs. Mink. So, I take it that you would generally support the officers' and legal counsels' admonition that there are certain things on the tapes that should not be disclosed because it would be absolutely, irrevocably damaging to the union?

Mr. Belk. Some probably would be; most of the discussions there, are not, but some certainly probably would be, would fall in that category.

Mrs. Mink. And those should not be disclosed under any circumstances?

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Mrs. Mink. I applaud your commitment to come to Washington to work with the new administration in 1991, and the significant responsibilities that you assumed when Ron Carey took over. Now, in your tenure with Ron Carey, was there anything that ever came to your attention while you were there in close proximity serving on the ethics board, and then as executive assistant, which you would regard as criminal behavior on the part of Mr. Carey?

Mr. Belk. No, none.

Mrs. Mink. Would you be able to say that there was anything which was questionably close to criminal activity on the part of Ron Carey?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mrs. Mink. Do you regard Ron Carey as having fulfilled the promises you believe he made to the membership when he took office to clean up the union and to rid it of corruption?

Mr. Belk. I think given what he came into office and seeing was there was even worse than what we had believed, I think Ron Carey's done a hell-of-a-job, more than any other individual in that set of shoes, at that time, could have done.


As I said in my written statement, I think Ron Carey is an American hero. He'll always be there. And I think he is well-deserving of the title as the best general president that the Teamsters Union has ever had.

Mrs. Mink. So, when Ron Carey says he had no knowledge about all of this money laundering, do you believe Ron Carey?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I do.

Mrs. Mink. As the administrator of the Ethical Practices Committee, did you have staff?

Mr. Belk. I had one secretary.

Mrs. Mink. One secretary.

Mr. Belk. Later on, one legal counsel staff.

Mrs. Mink. And you had a legal counsel.

Mr. Belk. A full-time one later on--

Mrs. Mink. Full-time legal counsel. Now to whom did you report or were you an independent entity?

Mr. Belk. An independent entity under the general president's authority.

Mrs. Mink. Under the general president's authority. Today, we heard the name of Mr. Ruff, which you said you had not been aware of as referring to himself as counsel with the Ethical Practices Committee.

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Mrs. Mink. Now, the assumption is that Ron Carey appointed him or gave him that task to counsel the president. Was there any time in which, while you were serving as administrator and having to review these 1,200 complaints, that you had to go to Mr. Carey to seek his counsel and advice on the cases that were being presented to you?

Mr. Belk. No. In fact, it's just the opposite. That's what I was talking about earlier--being executive assistant and administrator, there is a separation of power, so to speak, there, and you would not have any discussion on any of the complaints that came into the EPC.

Mrs. Mink. So, you made the final decisions on these matters--

Mr. Belk. On most matters--

Mrs. Mink. On the complaint?

Mr. Belk. With some legal assistance on some of them.

Mrs. Mink. When you entered a decision, did these individuals have appeal rights somewhere?

Mr. Belk. If I can take a step back--

Mrs. Mink. Yes.

Mr. Belk. The decisions I made is whether a complaint would be moved forward to a hearing process. There is a panel that had the hearing. I didn't make the ultimate decision on whether--

Mrs. Mink. You referred them to a hearing panel?

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Mrs. Mink. And who sat on the hearing panel?

Mr. Belk. We had a vice president from each region, an officer from each region at the local level, and a rank-and-file member on each committee.

Mrs. Mink. Would Mr. Carey have any participation in the hearings or concern about it that he would feel it necessary to retain counsel for that part of your responsibility?

Mr. Belk. No, Ron Carey, as far as EPC, didn't provide any counsel. We had an attorney that did go and advise the committees, but as far as Ron Carey hiring a specific attorney for a specific hearing, no, that didn't happen.

Mrs. Mink. Now the complaints that you had authority to review had to do with union corruption?

Mr. Belk. Not all of them. They had to do with complaints that fall under one section of the general president's authority where it would pose an imminent danger to the members or to the local union itself.

Mrs. Mink. After the complaints came to you and went through a hearing, then, what is the connection between that and the decision Ron Carey made to impose trusteeships on various locals?

Mr. Belk. There were times when, as administrator, when I reviewed certain complaints from individuals in person, after I did a personal review of those complaints, that I recommended immediate trusteeship, and he did impose immediate trusteeship in those cases.

Mrs. Mink. So, there was a connection in your work and the ultimate result of the imposition of trusteeship on certain unions because of complaints that had been filed which you had reviewed and had gone to a hearing. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. That's correct.

Mrs. Mink. So there was sort of a connection there in which your work could come--resulted in the trusteeships?

Mr. Belk. Yes, that was only in severe cases. There was only three or four times when that actually occurred.

Mrs. Mink. Well, in your written testimony you said Ron Carey imposed 65 trusteeships.

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. Your response seems to indicate that he did this not in connection with your work, but in independent inquiries that he made.

Mr. Belk. Correct. The 65 was the total of trusteeships during the time I was the administrator of EPC. Some of the information on some of those trusteeships did result from EPC investigations. A lot of them came from the IRB and their investigations and referral back to the general president and the general executive board for action.

Mrs. Mink. Now, a lot of the unhappiness with Ron Carey, I assume, came with the imposition of these trusteeships. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Did you say happiness?

Mrs. Mink. Unhappiness.

Mr. Belk. Unhappiness.


Well, there was happiness and unhappiness, mixed emotions. Most of the time, members like the fact that locals wanted a trusteeship to correct the--

Mrs. Mink. How did you view it?

Mr. Belk. I think it's necessary to correct the problems.

Mrs. Mink. And did it have a positive result in terms of the operations of the union.

Mr. Belk. Yes. In almost every instance--and I'm not aware of one where it didn't take effect or place--there was an immediate improvement in membership involvement, access to internal knowledge and operation of the union, access to their local they never had, and participation and education in private programs, and general openness in the operation of the local union after the trusteeship was in place.

Mrs. Mink. Let's go to the consent decree. What was your general feeling about the consent decree which was entered into by the union and the Department of Justice?

Mr. Belk. As a member in 1989, when it happened, I wasn't even aware of it taking place. Only later and in getting involved in the politics of it--

Mrs. Mink. In your testimony, you said it was a historic first opportunity for Teamster members to vote. Could you explain that, elaborate on that?

Mr. Belk. You see, the consent decree gave the members the opportunity to run for office at the international level and to vote on international officers and that's a practice that had never happened in the past. In the past, those decisions--if there was an opening on the board, it was made by the sitting general executive board at the time.


What happened was the process opened up to where the members were involved. Like I said in my opening statement, I think, the membership of this union will never go back and never allow the union to go back to what it was pre-1991.

Mrs. Mink. So the consent decree opened up a new era for the Teamsters' participation in the selection of their officers?

Mr. Belk. Not only that, but in some other areas, it is the equivalent of the breaking down the Berlin Wall within the Teamsters Union, in my opinion.

Mrs. Mink. So, where we are sitting today in this current dilemma of what's to happen in the re-run elections, I understand that you are still serving on the executive board and were asked the question as to whether the Teamsters ought to differ from the court order and participate in funding the re-run. Could you give information about that meeting or how you viewed it or if it's within your purview to tell us how you reacted to how you voted?

Mr. Belk. Well, I think the general executive board, and knowing all the members on that, I don't think any of them would have a problem with me relaying that we voted down any kind of financial assistance for the re-run election.

Mrs. Mink. And knowing of your great devotion to this consent decree and what it's done for the union, you still feel that it's not appropriate for the union to participate in paying for it. Will you explain why?

Mr. Belk. I think we won appeals on that. You know, ``laws are made to be broken,'' I suppose, is the quote that everybody always says. But, in fact, laws aren't made to be broken. The fact that the Teamsters are held to those laws, I think the government should also abide by their commitments made.

Mrs. Mink. May we recess to vote, Mr. Chairman?

Chairman Hoekstra. We've got plenty of time before we need to vote, but if you want to give up some--

Mrs. Mink. Well, you can run and I--


Chairman Hoekstra. That's okay with me. The subcommittee will recess.


Chairman Hoekstra. The subcommittee will come to order.

The gentlelady's time has expired.

Mrs. Mink. By what clock.

Chairman Hoekstra. Running time.

Mrs. Mink. The Chair recalls he recessed the committee.

Chairman Hoekstra. But not your time. No, the gentlelady is recognized for 19 minutes.

Mrs. Mink. Thank you.

Mr. Belk, I forgot to ask you earlier, have we ever met?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mrs. Mink. Have you met my counsel here of the subcommittee at any time?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mrs. Mink. You've never discussed this subject matter before--ever?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mrs. Mink. Over dinner?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mrs. Mink. There are some very interesting aspects to your responses to questions for Mr. Hoekstra that I wanted to review with my remaining time, and that had to go to the legal department bills which he inquired about and why those did not come over your desk. Is there a clear explanation that you could offer at this point, why the legal department had sort of a separate authority to clear its own agenda to matters of privilege, or is there an explanation as to why those bills did not come through your desk when you had that responsibility as executive assistant which began in January of 1994?

Mr. Belk. Correct. The legal department, like any other department, review all of the bills that come to them as they come in and sign-off on those documents. The legal department's a little bit different because those bills pertain to litigation, maybe court proceedings, different things that I wouldn't be aware of, and was a practice--as I was told--that those bills were approved by the legal department in conjunction with the general president.

Mrs. Mink. So, when they submitted their bills, they went directly to the general president?

Mr. Belk. Following the sign-off by the legal department, yes.

Mrs. Mink. Did you consider that an unusual practice or something which was contrary to your authority? When you took this position as executive assistant, was that the way it was from the minute you took over?

Mr. Belk. The authority of the executive assistant would only be what the general president directed or allowed that position to do. That's one function that wasn't in my office at the time I went in.

Mrs. Mink. So, that was made clear to you when you took your responsibilities. It wasn't something that was done as a subterfuge to undermine your authority and responsibility?

Mr. Belk. No. The approval of legal bills, there are some that do come to my office, some of the minor ones that they have. Major litigation, the hiring of outside attorneys, those did not come, and that was not a practice that was ever in that office, to my knowledge. I wouldn't know what Judy did when she was executive assistant prior to me getting there, but she could have approved them prior to that. I'm not aware. I don't think there were any changes made in that procedure.

Mrs. Mink. Was there an outline of your duties and responsibilities when you took this office and when you were appointed as executive assistant as to what you would be doing for the general president?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mrs. Mink. So, how were these duties delegated to you? In what manner?

Mr. Belk. In the traditional sense of the office of the executive assistant in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the executive assistant has been the person that handled the day-to-day operations of the union for the general president, so that he could do the external portion of that job.

Mrs. Mink. So you did whatever the general president asked you to do day-to-day--pretty much?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. Were there several executive assistants or were you it?

Mr. Belk. There is one executive assistant and there are some special assistants.

Mrs. Mink. Did you meet often with the general president? Would there be weeks and months where you didn't see the general president or were you in close contact with him on a daily basis?

Mr. Belk. Not in close contact on a daily basis, no.

Mrs. Mink. How often would you say you conferred with the general president on issues that related to your responsibility?

Mr. Belk. With the general president, himself, personally?

Mrs. Mink. Yes.

Mr. Belk. There were times when we didn't speak for weeks. Most of the time, my communication on matters concerning problems or issues that I needed an answer on, I would talk to his secretary who would talk to him while he was in the field and those answers would be relayed back. But in talking personally, it would be sometimes weeks before we actually had a face-to-face or telephone-to-telephone conversation.

Mrs. Mink. And you were executive assistant at the time of the Detroit newspaper strike which, our record indicates, began in 1995?

Mr. Belk. That is correct.

Mrs. Mink. And in your connection as an executive assistant, did the general president talk to you about strategy and other matters related to the strike? Did you have any personal knowledge, in other words, about the ongoing activities of the union with reference to that strike.

Mr. Belk. Yes, the general president sent myself, Vice President Dennis Skelton, and Vice President Diana Kilmury to Detroit to do an on-ground investigation of what was happening there and the inefficiencies of the way the strike was being run.

Mrs. Mink. And what did you discover?

Mr. Belk. We discovered there was no support for that strike on the ground from the joint council and the locals in the area. We had a lot of support from other unions which was very visible and very vocal and active. We didn't seem to have the level we should have from our own Teamster joint councils in that area--not to the level that you would expect.

If you take a look at what that particular joint council and those local areas did and compared to the joint councils in Pennsylvania and other parts of the country--as far away as California--I don't think the dollar value of donated goods, food supply services, would even be a drop in the bucket compared to a 55-gallon drum from the outside area help that came in--and in monetary as well as food supplies and support.

Mrs. Mink. Is there an explanation for that lack of support?

Mr. Belk. I can give you my opinion on it.

Mrs. Mink. Your opinion's fine.

Mr. Belk. Purely political--purely political.

Mrs. Mink. Meaning?

Mr. Belk. The joint council in that particular area did not support the general president and it was the joint council that would do almost anything possible to undermine the general president or to anything the administration attempted to do.

Mrs. Mink. To embarrass Ron Carey?

Mr. Belk. Yes, to initiate embarrassment and failure of any program that was initiated.

Mrs. Mink. So, there is some questions that Mr. Hoekstra made with reference to Adopt-A-Family?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. Was that one of your recommendations after your field trip?

Mr. Belk. Yes. When we came back and went into a meeting with the general president and other vice presidents and some staff members and department directors, and we talked about what was needed, what could be done, we put things in motion that day.

Mrs. Mink. Was it out of order for the AFL-CIO to come in and support a brother union's strike needs in this way? Is there anything unusual, illegal, improper, inappropriate?

Mr. Belk. No, in fact, we benefitted greatly on that strike as well as the UPS strike from the help from all of the brothers and sisters from other labor unions throughout the country.

Mrs. Mink. It's common practice, in other words--

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. --to come to the aid and assistance of a brother or sister union; correct?

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Mrs. Mink. So, in providing this support for the adoptive family, it was simply a routine exercise to get more support into the striking families in Detroit. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Yes, and this particular strike was a little bit more elevated, a higher profile, because of where it was and the number of members involved.

Mrs. Mink. Was there anything that you saw or witnessed or participated in with regard to the Detroit strike that would cause you to believe that Ron Carey behaved improperly?

Mr. Belk. Not improperly, no.

Mrs. Mink. Well, characterize it differently.

Mr. Belk. Well, in taking a look at the situation, and having been there on the ground and the abuse that the members took at the hands of security guards that were hired by the city, I think that we were challenged in an area we didn't respond as--

Mrs. Mink. The IBT should have been bolder. Is that what you're saying?

Mr. Belk. I think so. I think the fact that they had shields and boots and I think we should have managed shields and boots in taking them on. One thing about it with the mace and things there--

Mrs. Mink. But Ron Carey prevented you from doing that?

Mr. Belk. I think Ron Carey has a calming effect on some individuals--myself--

Mrs. Mink. A calming effect?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. And that caused the decisions to be more cautious with reference to what was happening there in Detroit?

Mr. Belk. Yes, probably in that particular case it probably saved lives and litigation.

Mrs. Mink. So ultimately, Ron Carey was correct?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. Another matter that was raised in the questioning by the Chair had to do with Mr. Ruff, and your testimony was that you didn't know that he was serving in that capacity. Is there some reason why you should have known who has an affidavit saying that he was counsel? Should you have known?

Mr. Belk. I would think that counsel to the EPC would be counseling the EPC and I was the administrator and I was never counseled by Mr. Ruff.

Mrs. Mink. So he was counseling Mr. Carey. Would that be inappropriate?

Mr. Belk. It would be inappropriate, yes. Unless the counsel was on the other side of the hearing process, and after the hearing panel made a recommendation back to the general president for his consideration.

Mrs. Mink. That would be an appropriate intervention at that point?

Mr. Belk. At that point, the general president could counsel with whomever he needed. But prior to that point, it would have been a violation of the rules of the EPC.

Mrs. Mink. So, do you know if Mr. Ruff was serving as counsel to Mr. Carey in terms of decisions that you were making and matters that were being taken to the hearing--not interfering with what you were doing, but offering counsel to Mr. Carey?

Mr. Belk. Under the rules, it would have been inappropriate for Mr. Carey to have been involved in any of the process until after the hearings had taken place and the panel made a recommendation back to the general president.

Mrs. Mink. Now would that have been possible that counsel would have been retained for that purpose?

Mr. Belk. It's possible that the legal department could have retained counsel for that purpose. I don't think the general president would have.

Mrs. Mink. So you think the legal counsel might have designated Mr. Ruff to attend to matters relating to the hearings process?

Mr. Belk. I suppose, given the bills that we had before us, that the legal department did do that.

Mrs. Mink. One final aspect that the subcommittee has been investigating has to do with pension fraud. Is there any information or any knowledge that you acquired or information that came to your attention with regard to misuse of any pension trust funds for which the IBT is responsible?

Mr. Belk. In Local 810, one of the trusteeships that was imposed, we did do some work there. There was quite a large number of members there whose pension funds were moved out; we tried to recoup those. I suppose some legal assistance went in there--I'm aware of that.

I know in Chicago we did recoup several million dollars. I know that is the area that Mr. Ruff supposedly worked on. I was not involved in that at all. That particular litigation, I think, came over from the IRB. I was not aware of that particular litigation. I did some of the cleanup from that, on charges with the EPC that followed the initial--

Mrs. Mink. What about the IBT's national headquarters' responsibilities with reference to pensions--not the locals'?

Mr. Belk. In reference--

Mrs. Mink. Pension funds that were the responsibility of the international--not the locals--are you aware of any discrepancies, mismanagement, deficiencies, so forth, with those pension funds?

Mr. Belk. I'm aware of disagreements that I've had with some of the members of the administrative committee on those two funds I sit on.

Mrs. Mink. What were the disagreements?

Mr. Belk. On the investment manner of the funds, and my position was--

Mrs. Mink. What disagreements on investments did you have with the management?

Mr. Belk. My belief is that we were too conservative in some areas and we should have been more aggressive with taking less out of the bond area and putting it into the equity area. One of the particular funds, the family plan--I sit on three different pensions--comparing it to the performance of the southern region plan that I sit on, at one time they were two plans of comparable size. The southern plan, now taking the more aggressive approach with a 60/40 concentration more in equity, we have accumulated almost $72 million in that fund, which is an increase. We now see approximately $20-something million more than the other plan. And I thought the family was a little bit--

Mrs. Mink. So your disagreement was that the managers were too conservative?

Mr. Belk. Yes. There also was some other internal differences of opinion, but I don't know whether it would be in the area of this committee's concerns.

Mrs. Mink. The other matter that the subcommittee has been discussing has to do with the financial situation, currently, of the union and its depleted assets, and its impaired cash status. Do you have a comment about that or an explanation about why that occurred? And, did any of that occur during your watch?

Mr. Belk. Some of it has occurred during my watch on money going out. But, you have to take a look at the whole picture, not just one snapshot of it. I think if you take a look at the 1991 conventions where the problems really began when the delegates raised pension benefits without putting in a process to fund it, in reality, what that had done was put an ``ace-in-the-hole'' so to speak. If the rank-and-file slate got elected, we would be exactly where we are today. Had the other guys got elected, they would have called a special convention and passed funding for that.


We tried on two occasions to put that together; it didn't happen because of the politics of the union.

Mrs. Mink. You don't mean pension, though. You mean strike benefits?

Mr. Belk. Strike benefits. Did I say pension?

Mrs. Mink. Yes.

Mr. Belk. I'm sorry, I meant strike benefits. But that depleted over $100 million. The government supervision is in excess of $60 million. We've reduced that since we've been there. I've worked multiple jobs. Ron Carey reduced his salary. Other vice presidents worked the jobs that, formerly in the past, carried salaried positions. I would have a hard time writing down all of the positions that I have done the last 6.5 years that, previous to that, carried salaries.


I currently still do three or four that accumulatively would be an excess of $300,000 from what was paid from doing those jobs I do now that I'm no longer executive assistant. I still do some of those jobs.

Mrs. Mink. Given the current situation--my time is really up--where there is no money to supervise the re-run elections, what jeopardy is the union facing without a supervised election if they have to go it alone and have their own or suffer further delays in having an election?

Mr. Belk. You know, I voted to not fund anything from the IBT on the elections. The process with the government has been difficult and it's also been very helpful at the same time. But, I think if you take a look at the convention we had, this past convention, we had a very turbulent convention to say the least.


But one thing that there was no questions on, there was no debate on and no disagreement on, was the counting of votes as we exited the doors using our Union Teamster tellers. That was the only area that there was no concern, no debate.

Mrs. Mink. And who set that procedure in motion?

Mr. Belk. It was a very quickly arranged process where I went down off the podium to the floor and talked to the various slates and members, and asked them to put their guys that they trust in there--give me enough so we could put tellers on each door. We had, I think it was six, three, and three, across from each other, whereas no two were directly across from each other that represented the same slate.


As the members walked through that process, they counted openly aloud to each other and agreed on the totals. If there was a discrepancy, they stopped and corrected before they would let anybody continue through. We never had a problem in all of the divisions of the house votes that we had, it's the only area we didn't have any debate over.

Chairman Hoekstra. The gentlelady's time has expired.

Mrs. Mink. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Hoekstra. The gentleman from Mississippi is recognized for five minutes.

Mr. Parker. I thank the chairman.

I wanted to follow up on the line of questioning from the ranking member because I think that it's very relevant. I'm having a hard time getting together a picture of this. When you look at exhibit 1, you see testimony from Charles Ruff.

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Mr. Parker. He states in there that, as part of the firm's representation of the IBT, they also served as counsel to the IBT's Ethical Practices Committee. Now, you were the, I think, administrator of the Ethical Practices Committee?

Mr. Belk. Committee, yes.

Mr. Parker. Did you meet Mr. Ruff occasionally? How many times did you meet him?

Mr. Belk. I met him once. He was introduced to me. Judy Scott introduced him to me in my office.

Mr. Parker. During that conversation, did he look at you and say, ``By the way, I am the committee that you're the administrator of; I happen to be your counsel?''

Mr. Belk. No.

Mr. Parker. Did that come up?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mr. Parker. What did you talk about? Did you talk about business or what kind of conversation was this?

Mr. Belk. He was just in the building and Judy brought him by and introduced him to me. We had never met before.

Mr. Parker. So, it was just casual conversation?

Mr. Belk. A casual introduction.

Mr. Parker. Okay. If you look at exhibit 3, you see bills that were paid to Covington and Burling, and the total billing was $261,931.92. Now, paid out to Palladino and Sutherland was $175,000, which left actual fees to Covington of $86,634.48. So the majority of the fees here were paid out to a Palladino and Sutherland--another law firm.


Mr. Parker. Did you ever meet anyone from that law firm or Mr. Palladino?

Mr. Belk. Not to my knowledge, no.

Mr. Parker. Ever?

Mr. Belk. No, not to my knowledge.

Mr. Parker. Did anyone within the Teamsters organization, the hierarchy, within the bureaucracy itself, ever tell you, if you have any legal questions, you need to contact Covington and Burling?

Mr. Belk. No. No.

Mr. Parker. Did they say you need to contact Charles Ruff?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mr. Parker. Or Palladino and Sutherland?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mr. Parker. Or Mr. Palladino?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mr. Parker. Does that strike you as odd?

Mr. Belk. No, it wouldn't strike me as odd at the time, because I had no knowledge that they were working for--

Mr. Parker. No, but whenever you looked at exhibit 1, where Charles Ruff in sworn testimony in an affidavit says, as part of the firm's representation of the IBT, it also served as counsel to the IBT's Ethical Practices Committee, now when you take that sworn testimony, now does it seem odd?

Mr. Belk. Yes, it seems odd to me that from the administrator's perspective that I wouldn't have some knowledge somewhere along the way, if that occurred during the time I was administrator, yes.

Mr. Parker. You have been, and I must tell you, Mr. Belk, you being from the State of Mississippi, a fellow Mississippian, I have a lot of pride in knowing that you have come forward without a subpoena. Did you not go to the southern district of New York and tell them, ``You want to know something? Ask me a question.'' You have not used an attorney, which I think is interesting in and of itself. That makes me very proud from a personal standpoint. And you've been very open with everything that you have talked about.

In fact, you met with some of the majority staff who came down to Walls, Mississippi to meet with you and talked with you and you gave them some information.

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Mr. Parker. After you met with them, did you get any phone calls from anyone with the IBT concerning that meeting?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mr. Parker. Who was that from?

Mr. Belk. The IBT legal department.

Mr. Parker. What did they say?

Mr. Belk. They had just heard about the fact that I had been contacted.

Mr. Parker. What did they ask you? I'm interested to find out, how did the conversation go, if you don't mind answering?

Mr. Belk. Just general, that they didn't seem to know about it, and had relayed it to the executive assistant's office or thought they did. Just general questions about what was discussed.

Mr. Parker. Did they ask you anything from the standpoint of, do you want us to help you in any way or provide counsel, or whatever?

Mr. Belk. Well, there was reference to, would I mind if outside counsel called to discuss that, of which I said I didn't mind. And, that took place, too.

Mr. Parker. Did that make you feel odd in any way? Or, did you feel odd about that conversation?

Mr. Belk. Anytime you're talking to lawyers, I feel odd.


And I didn't mean that in no disrespect to lawyers.

Mr. Parker. I'm not a lawyer. I don't mind.


Mr. Kind. I assume that doesn't apply to lawmakers?


Mr. Belk. It depends on what kind of discussions you're having there, too.


Mr. Belk. You know, I try to be independent in what I do, and I try not to let anybody sway me in any way. And I know attorneys are not trying to sway you. They are trying to advise you and let you know what they feel you're fixin' to go through. They're no different than the meetings that took place with the subcommittee were.


I've been open and I've been open to listening and taking advice from whoever wanted to relay it, and I sift through that and use it as I think I need to--if that answers your question.

Mr. Parker. Mr. Chairman, my time is up.

Mr. Belk, you are a good man and I appreciate what you are doing. Thank you.

Mr. Belk. Thank you.

Chairman Hoekstra. The gentleman from Wisconsin.

Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And Mr. Belk, I want to extend my appreciation to you for voluntarily coming before this committee today, and answering all of our questions.

Mr. Belk, I just have a few general questions that I want to ask since you've had a lot of experience and time with the IBT. But, given your over 20 years of service within the IBT and serving as regional vice president and administrator of the Ethical Practices Committee and executive assistant, in your opinion, has the IBT reform movement that you've witnessed been effective?

Mr. Belk. Yes, it has, very effective.

Mr. Parker. What has changed? What is different now than what might have existed 10 years ago?

Mr. Belk. Well, in local union meetings--and I'm speaking of my local union--in 667, we have a very good local, even though I might have disagreed with my local union officers at the time. We have more openness in the union, more ability for a member to go to a local union to speak up, to disagree with his officers. And I think part of that is a result of Ron Carey being able and bold enough to go out into meetings and take on the leadership out in the field, so to speak, and to take the abuse that he did take to allow those officers to speak their minds, to disagree with the general president openly.


In the past, had that been done, probably the sun wouldn't have set too many times before those individuals would have been placed in trusteeship--or worse. You know, Ron Carey brought democracy to our union. He breathed life into it in ways that nobody had even attempted prior to that, with the exception of a few. Sam Theodus, who I think has been before this committee--he stood up, and along with others were chastised and beaten at, you know, previous conventions.


I think that that day in the Teamsters Union is over. You know, even some of--me being here today--you know, 10 or 15 years ago, and certainly prior to that, back in the sixties and seventies, I certainly probably wouldn't have made it to this meeting. And, you know, today there may be a phone call or two about it and a question raised about it, but it's more in the discussion, not in the area of life-threatening discussions.

Mr. Kind. Well, I, too, am glad now that the environment has changed. But just to reiterate what's already been asked and answered: there was no pressure placed on you to avoid cooperating with the committee or to try to obstruct our investigation in any way within the IBT?

Mr. Belk. No.

Mr. Kind. And while you were there performing these multiple roles as you did, did you personally witness any illegal activity or any malfeasance or breach of fiduciary duty?

Mr. Belk. On one occasion I had the election officer, when the general president was out, send some documents to the general president's office, which I felt was a breach of the rules, and I had someone take them back around the corner because you're not supposed to use your office to, you know, conduct any kind of election business. That happens occasionally. You can't avoid it, but I didn't know if that was a test being run, so I sent it back around the corner.

Mr. Kind. In your opinion, given the amount of money that the American taxpayers spent in the last election, do you believe that money was well spent, in retrospect?

Mr. Belk. Well I think it's in comparison to raising a child. You know, you have problems, you wonder. You spend money on this child, and it's not proceeding the way you would like. Is that money well spent? Do I wish I hadn't done that? No, I don't. I've done that with my kids.


I think we're in an evolving process in this union, going from a union that, without a doubt, has one of the most incredible histories of any union in the area of corruption and retaliation against its members, into a union that is open and allows a member to take part and stand up and say whatever is on his mind, which I think creates an opportunity for members and the union itself to evolve into whatever potential it actually has. We had been restricted in that area in the past, and we're open and moving forward in that area today.

Mr. Kind. Mr. Belk, in your opinion do you think this Congress should appropriate another $8.6 million for the future election at IBT?

Mr. Belk. I think the Government's obligated to appropriate it under the Consent Decree.

Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Belk.

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. Mr. Ballenger.

Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I apologize to everyone for being a little bit late, but we had a meeting on drug problems and various and sundry things.

Mr. Belk, not being very thorough in my studying of the homework and so forth, but in what little bit I was able to read this, I somehow got the fact that Judy Scott didn't appear to be a Teamster. Who--was she brought in by Mr. Carey, or did Trumka ask him to bring her in? Where did she come from?

Mr. Belk. She was hired to be counsel to the general president, to work in the general president's office.

Mr. Ballenger. With--I guess--with recommendations? I mean, you weren't involved at all in that hiring process, I would think.

Mr. Belk. No, sir; I wasn't.

Mr. Ballenger. But she appeared to be--previously had been general counsel for the Teamsters--I mean for the Mine Workers. Does that sound logical?

Mr. Belk. I believe that's correct; yes.

Mr. Ballenger. And also, in your questioning and so forth, it appears that she was kind of in charge of maybe the hiring of Mr. Hamilton. Was there something strange about the way he was hired?

Mr. Belk. We had an interview process that was ongoing, and he was not one of the participants that I sat in on in the interview process.

Mr. Ballenger. But did it appear that the other interviewees had a shot at this? Or did it--

Mr. Belk. At that time we had, I think, narrowed it down to two individuals, and they both came in for interviews with the general president. And then--

Mr. Ballenger. Right.

Mr. Belk. --sometime after that Mr. Hamilton was brought in.

Mr. Ballenger. Right. You know that Mr. Hamilton was recently indicted on various counts of conspiracy, embezzlement, mail fraud, wire fraud, false statements, and perjury, in conjunction with his actions taken during the election. You've heard of that?

Mr. Belk. I'm aware of those charges; yes.

Mrs. Mink. Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?

Chairman Hoekstra. Mrs. Mink.

Mr.s. Mink. The witness who is here today, as I understand it, is also a witness in the criminal proceedings involving Mr. Hamilton, and I would respectfully request that we not get involved in any inquiries with reference to Mr. Hamilton or it will compromise the criminal investigation.

Chairman Hoekstra. I don't believe there's a conflict. I believe we're talking about how Mr. Hamilton was brought into the Teamsters--

Mr. Ballenger. Right.

Chairman Hoekstra. --and if the gentleman would proceed along that line of questioning.

Mr. Ballenger. Well, the basic idea is that it appears, just from reading the testimony and what little bit of knowledge I have, that, first of all, Mrs. Scott came from the Mine Workers, one way or another, and then with some aid from, I think, Mrs. Scott, Mr. Hamilton was hired. Does this all sound right to you? I mean, when Hamilton was brought in, was there somebody specifically that might have brought him in--in your opinion?

Mr. Belk. I only know about--my knowledge on Mr. Hamilton being hired is I was called into a meeting where that took place, and the process of the interview, to my knowledge, at least--I wasn't involved in any interviews prior to that, the way we had done all the other applicants for that job.

Mr. Ballenger. Right, so that it seemed like a special arrangement, maybe, as far as Mr. Hamilton's hiring is concerned.

Mr. Belk. I'm not aware of that, but--

Mr. Ballenger. Well, all I was trying to do is see if what little bit of reading I had done of your previous testimony in that discussion--it just somehow appeared that the Mine Workers--this is just--I don't know--let me express an opinion and see if it sounds somewhat similar to what you think. It appears that somewhere along the line the Mine Workers seemed to have developed a fair amount of influence, as far as the operation of the Teamsters is concerned.

Mr. Belk. The Mine Workers and a lot of other unions have a lot of concern about the Teamsters and the reform movements in the Teamsters, and the Mine Workers does have a special relationship because of the different people that are at the Teamsters and have been at the Teamsters that had been previously at the Mine Workers.

Mr. Ballenger. Right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Hoekstra. Very diplomatic. We'll begin a second round of questioning.

Who technically made the decision to hire Mr. Hamilton? Do you know?

Mr. Belk. The decision was made by Mr. Carey.

Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Hamilton didn't go through the normal hiring process, is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Well, the normal hiring process, you know, is we had an interview process. It's nothing abnormal, I suppose, about changing direction in an interview process, but, you know, that's the choice of the general president if he wants to hire someone that can do a better job or that impressed him more at the particular time.

Chairman Hoekstra. It's a pretty critical position.

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. In not going through the--even a modified version of the interview process, and my understanding is that in other cases you might have used a head-hunting firm, and neither one of those was true in this case. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. I think we did use a firm to relay applicants.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did they--is that how Mr. Hamilton came to the Teamsters? Reference?

Mr. Belk. It could have been. Like I said, I wasn't involved in the preliminary interviews of Mr. Hamilton like I was other applicants.

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. Let's move on to a different area. You're aware that there was a $500,000 Crestar Bank loan taken out by DRIVE, which is a Teamsters PAC, in October 1996?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. Is it true that you refused to sign the paperwork for this loan when it was submitted to you for your approval?

Mr. Belk. That's correct.

Chairman Hoekstra. Why didn't you give your approval for the loan?

Mr. Belk. Because it was an extremely large loan coming for the purposes of political support, which was late in the campaign, and I had concerns about that, given the IBT finances, as well as I didn't have any documentation to show that Ron Carey had approved that to be done.

Chairman Hoekstra. How was the loan--the loan did move forward. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. How was the loan obtained without your approval?

Mr. Belk. Ron Carey did approve that.

Chairman Hoekstra. Back in--again, in October of 1996, the IBT made several large contributions out of the general treasury fund to various non-profit organizations. Specifically, they gave $475,000 to Citizen Action, $100,000 to Project Vote. Both of those occurred on October 24. They also gave $85,000 to the National Council for Senior Citizens on October 24, and an additional $75,000 to Project Vote on October 31. Do you recall these contributions being made?

Mr. Belk. Some of them at the time; all of them I don't recall.

Chairman Hoekstra. Isn't it true that Bill Hamilton requested these contributions be made and that you at least opposed some of them?

Mr. Belk. I opposed all of them, with respect to the large amounts without documentation, which would indicate that the general president had approved them.

Chairman Hoekstra. So you opposed them because of the lack of documentation. Any other reasons?

Mr. Belk. For the amounts of the money, also, without the attached documentation.

Chairman Hoekstra. These contributions--I mean, do you get a lot of requests to sign--in this area--to sign checks for this amount?

Mr. Belk. No.

Chairman Hoekstra. Because these were highly unusual?

Mr. Belk. Yes. They were all in a category, among themselves, that would be listed as the highest amounts, you know, ever presented to my office while I was there during those years.

Chairman Hoekstra. What do you think should have happened?

Mr. Belk. In my opinion, if it were Ron Carey's signature that had been on there, where he approved those, they would have been processed, but even with those large amounts of money I personally feel that the executive board as a whole should make decisions on amounts as large as almost $500,000.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you talk to Bill Hamilton about these contributions?

Mr. Belk. We had a conversation on one occasion about one of them. I don't remember, actually, which one it was.

Chairman Hoekstra. What did he tell you?

Mr. Belk. We had disagreements over the amounts and getting approval. Given the time restraints, he indicated--and I may be getting into an area that may, you know, be compromising other investigations I'm not aware of, but--

Chairman Hoekstra. Did he tell you that he, perhaps, already had committed the funds?

Mr. Belk. Yes, he did, and I told him that you can't commit the funds until you get approval.

Chairman Hoekstra. How come the contributions were ultimately made?

Mr. Belk. The procedure in the general president's office, when initials are placed on documents--and I suppose it's the same way here in the halls of this building and others--you have people in supervisory positions that do have people in subordinate positions, and you delegate some authority and you allow initials to be put on documents to move forward through the system, and we were no different. The way that happens, there were initials put on those documents, which to my office would indicate that conversations had taken place with the general president and he had approved them, and so they were processed.

Chairman Hoekstra. Was Judy Scott involved in this process of getting these approved, do you believe?

Mr. Belk. As general counsel, she would normally sign off on those; yes.

Mr. Kind. Mr. Chairman?

Chairman Hoekstra. Yes.

Mr. Kind. I think we're approaching this line very, very closely at this point, as far as the conflict with the ongoing investigation through the Justice Department, and I'd hate to have us go into an area right now that we're going to regret somewhere down the law that might inhibit their ability in order to conduct a fair and expedited investigation and, ultimately, see that justice is done.

Chairman Hoekstra. I believe that this line of questioning has been followed at the IRB hearings and investigation into this issue, which occurred this spring or this summer already, so I don't believe this is new information that has--

Mr. Kind. I think it is, though,--

Chairman Hoekstra. --not been given to, that is not already on the public record in one form or another.

Mr. Kind. I think it is, though, expanding into this rubric that we haven't, as a committee, delved into yet that might lead to some inconsistent statements by witnesses appearing before us and before the Justice Department. And, again, having some experience in my background as a former prosecutor, this is something that we had raised with you on some previous occasions, and I just think we're entering into this grey area now that might make it more difficult for the Justice Department to do their investigation.

Chairman Hoekstra. Like I said, I think that has all come out on the public record in the IRB, and this is not new ground in that area. But my time is up; I'll yield to Mrs. Mink.

Mrs. Mink. The questions that were asked of you with reference to the loan that DRIVE took out at the closing minutes of the 1996 election--that came to your attention because you served as Chair of that committee. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. No; I was executive assistant at that time.

Mrs. Mink. You were executive assistant to the internal operations of IBT, so why would the matter of the loan come before you?

Mr. Belk. Almost anything that would--anything that would require the general president's signature in his absence would come to my office.

Mrs. Mink. So the routing of that loan application came through your office, even though it was initiated by the political action committee of the Teamsters.

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Mrs. Mink. Now the political action committee, known as DRIVE in the Teamsters, acquires all of its funds by voluntary contributions by members and not by part of the operating revenues or treasury of the IBT. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. That's correct. Every individual signs a voluntary card for their funds to go into DRIVE.

Mrs. Mink. And in the years that you were there during election periods, were there previous circumstances where DRIVE had to obtain loans in order to meet their obligations or requirements for elections?

Mr. Belk. Yes. I believe in the 1992 election cycle that was done also.

Mrs. Mink. How much was the loan at that time?

Mr. Belk. I'm not aware of the amount, but I know we ran short.

Mrs. Mink. In every circumstance of the loans being issued to DRIVE, the political action committee, were these loans, in fact, repaid?

Mr. Belk. Yes. They were all repaid from DRIVE funds. The DRIVE--

Mrs. Mink. DRIVE funds. Were there any circumstances in which IBT general revenue funds were used to meet the loan obligations of DRIVE?

Mr. Belk. Not to my knowledge.

Mrs. Mink. As far as the management of the DRIVE funds, was that ever your responsibility?

Mr. Belk. When I was executive assistant, only part of the time after Ron Carey took a leave, from November 17--I believe it was--1997. The General Executive Board voted to give me sign-off authority or for my name to appear on checks at the IBT in his absence.

Mrs. Mink. Do you still retain that authority?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I do.

Mrs. Mink. So in that capacity, as one of the signees of these checks, you also have responsibility to make sure that the financial statements of DRIVE are in order and have been filed properly, or is that someone else's responsibility?

Mr. Belk. We have a staff that puts them together.

Mrs. Mink. But you are aware of those financial records.

Mr. Belk. I'm aware of the procedures that--

Mrs. Mink. So that when you sign a check, you know that there are funds--

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. --that can be drawn upon to honor those checks?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Mrs. Mink. That's really what I'm getting to. Under that responsibility, has it ever come to your attention that there had been improper use of IBT general revenue funds--interspersed, intermingled in the DRIVE account?

Mr. Belk. Not to my knowledge; no.

Mrs. Mink. Has there been any impropriety in the use and operation and management of the DRIVE funds where you had management responsibilities?

Mr. Belk. I have disagreements with some contributions and some amounts of contributions.

Mrs. Mink. Did you have authority to authorize or not authorize the contributions? Was that part of your responsibility?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I did.

Mrs. Mink. And did those agreements then get ironed out, or did you prevail or not prevail?

Mr. Belk. Well, in some cases I prevailed, and in some cases I didn't prevail. I mean, there are things that I might disagree with that the general president does agree with and some things I agree with that he doesn't. You know, I'm not the general president; I only work in his behalf, and I try to do what I think he wants done. If there are any rather large contributions or contributions going to groups that I'm not aware of that we have any interaction with the Teamsters--and just because I'm not aware of them doesn't mean we don't have them. In some of those areas I have turned down and modified the contributions; in some cases rather drastically.

Mrs. Mink. One final question, Mr. Belk. Your relationship with Mr. Carey and your work for him and in your designation in the high offices as executive assistant, is there anything in the conduct of his office as president that you feel brought discredit to the union?

Mr. Belk. You're speaking of the conduct of Ron Carey--

Mrs. Mink. Ron Carey, yes.

Mr. Belk. --in carrying out the responsibilities of his office?

Mrs. Mink. Yes, of his office.

Mr. Belk. No. As I said before, I think he's the best general president this union has ever had and probably will ever have. Certainly in the short-term future, knowing the candidates, I will say that without reservation.

Mrs. Mink. Thank you very much, Mr. Belk.

Chairman Hoekstra. We'll go back to a little bit of these contributions. You were frustrated by the contributions that were made to these various organizations, and you expressed your concerns to Joe Selsavage. And I believe--is this your statement that you made to Charles Carberry in a deposition on November 19? Quote, ``I think at the time, being so frustrated over the large amounts of money coming through and Bill Hamilton's posturing over why it had to be done: it's got to be done now. I think I--my conversation with Joe Selsavage was that I was not going to prison for anybody, and I reviewed these as being very out of the ordinary and a lot of questions about, you know, why would we do that?''--end of quote. You were very concerned and frustrated by some of things that you were seeing and coming across your desk.

Mr. Belk. That's correct.

Chairman Hoekstra. I mean, you've been very calm and collected here this morning, but this statement indicates that at that time you might have indicated, at one point in time, this had raised your temperature somewhat.

Mr. Belk. I would think that when I made those statements I was making them as basically as calm as I am now. I've learned to control my emotions and not to be disruptive in meetings because you lose control of them if you do that. But, yes, I was very concerned about the amounts and used that figure of speech. And did I mean it had substance at the time? You know, we're under investigation and under scrutiny by the IRB and the EPC and the FBI, the CIA, the Hoekstra committee, the U.S. Attorney's office, and probably several others. I got cards on one--got contacts on one today that I wasn't aware of.


But, I am concerned about that. I try to do everything right and make sure it's done right. Certainly something could slip past me that I'm not aware of, but, you know, in my position in doing that job, I try to do it to the best of my ability. And certainly those were rather high and large contributions, and they raise tremendous concern, not only by me, but others.

Chairman Hoekstra. And Mr. Selsavage, who is the IBT accounting director, what was his response when you raised these issues with him?

Mr. Belk. I think he, too, was concerned.

Chairman Hoekstra. Were you aware at the time that the contributions to Citizen Action, Project Vote, and the National Council of Senior Citizens were made in order to get funds into the Carey campaign?

Mr. Belk. No; I was not.

Chairman Hoekstra. We'll move on to exhibit 6. It's an October 31, 1996 memo from Bill Hamilton to Ron Carey.


Chairman Hoekstra. In this memo Hamilton requests approval for a $150,000 contribution to the AFL-CIO. There are several sets of initials on this memo indicating approval, including an AB/KM. Did you approve this contribution?

Mr. Belk. That particular contribution I did approve by phone while I was out campaigning.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay, and how was this--how did you get to approve this expenditure?

Mr. Belk. We--I was a delegate to the AFL-CIO convention, and there were resolutions passed there, unanimously, to raise funds to participate in the election, and I viewed this as being part of that. And my secretary relayed that it was an AFL-CIO contribution, and I said, you know, ``That's our contribution we're making on the resolution that was passed at the AFL convention.''

Chairman Hoekstra. That's a special assessment.

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Chairman Hoekstra. Had the IBT given significant funds to the AFL-CIO prior to that time?

Mr. Belk. In the area of political action, we had not, to my knowledge, specifically, you know, the way this was done. And I think the election cycle in this particular year was seen as a drastic need for all of labor to put forth as much as they could to try to change several of the seats in the Senate and the House, as well as the Presidency.

Chairman Hoekstra. Can you take a look at the memo and identify the other initials on that memo?

Mr. Belk. That's exhibit--?

Chairman Hoekstra. Exhibit number 6.

Mr. Belk. Six. At the top, going from the top down, the ``Okay RC MS''--the RC is Ron Carey, and the MS is Monty Simpkins. The RC MS, all of it in total, was--is put there by Monty Simpkins, who is Ron Carey's executive secretary. Then, on down the list, there's a ``Okay JAS,'' which is Judy Scott--the legal review and approval. The ``OK RB'' is Rick Bank, who is the special counsel for the general president, and then the last one at the bottom is an ``Okay AB KM,'' AB being myself and KM being Kathy Maroney, my secretary.

Chairman Hoekstra. Were you aware at the time that this money went from the AFL-CIO to Citizen Action and/or the November Group?

Mr. Belk. No; I was not.

Chairman Hoekstra. Was the General Executive Board polled regarding this contribution?

Mr. Belk. No. The General Executive Board had endorsed the policies that we came back with from the convention--the AFL-CIO convention.

Chairman Hoekstra. The loan that I previously mentioned from Crestar Bank, for $500,000 to the IBT, came immediately before these checks were written and at a time when the net worth of the IBT was decreasing. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. I'm not sure I understood the question.

Chairman Hoekstra. I mean, these checks were being written at the same time where you had just gotten a loan and where the net worth of the Teamsters was decreasing. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Yes. They were all about the same time.

Chairman Hoekstra. Good; thank you.

Mr. Scott. Mr. Kind.

Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have a couple of concluding questions to ask Mr. Belk.

Mr. Belk, I've been advised that someone on the majority staff had advised you to go to Mr. Hoffa's attorneys in helping prepare any statement that you gave to this committee today. Is that true?

Mr. Belk. There was a reference that Mr. Geller could help prepare my statements, yes.

Mr. Kind. And he is Mr. Hoffa's attorney?

Mr. Belk. He works closely with Hoffa. Whether he's actually an attorney working for him in that capacity formally, I'm not aware, but he does work closely with Mr. Hoffa.

Mr. Kind. Did you view that as a strange request at the time?

Mr. Belk. Well, it was, you know, it was not--well, I had the same offer from counsel to help draft my documents also, which I didn't take either one of them.

Mr. Kind. IBT counsels--counsel, you mean? What counsel?

Mr. Belk. Outside counsel.

Mr. Kind. Oh, outside counsel. Independent attorneys, or are they associated with IBT at all?

Mr. Belk. Hired by the IBT.

Mr. Kind. Okay; all right. Mr. Chairman, just so that we're clear on this, I would certainly hope, and I hope this isn't taking place, but I hope that the internal politics of the IBT isn't finding its way of seeping into this committee's investigation. I don't think that's an area that we should go. What happens with the internal politics of the IBT should be left there, and we need to be able to just conduct our own independent investigation into these matters.

Chairman Hoekstra. I would think that Mr. Belk's testimony and presence here indicates a willingness and an openness to listen to all sides, and people are willing to share with us what has happened at the IBT. Absolutely.

Mr. Kind. But if the majority staff is trying to steer witnesses to consult with Mr. Hoffa's people or attorneys, I think that is a major concern that is being raised, at least from my perspective, and I don't think it's appropriate and I don't think the majority staff should be advising witnesses in that manner.

Chairman Hoekstra. I thank the gentleman for his comments, and we'll monitor minority counsel and their discussions with IBT and likewise.

Mr. Kind. I appreciate that, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay.

Mr. Kind. I'll do my best to make sure that minority staff isn't engaging in this type of practice as well.

Chairman Hoekstra. All right; thank you.

Mr. Kind. Thank you.

One final question, Mr. Belk. What type of effect, if any, has the investigation from this congressional Oversight Committee had on the IBT?

Mr. Belk. This particular hearing? This subcommittee's, or--

Mr. Kind. Well, just the ongoing investigation of this Oversight Committee. What type of effect has it had on the IBT?

Mr. Belk. I think the time that it has taken, not only in this investigation, but others, has given the members of this union a lot of questions to ponder on, a lot of unanswered questions, and there's been a lot of time during all of these investigations where there's only been one candidate that's able to function while nobody else could, with everything being up in the air the way it has been. I think that that's the unfortunate thing that's happened, not only with this inquiry, but others.


There needs to be some final decisions made, and they should have been made a long time ago so that all of the people that are currently running in the election would have had an opportunity to have a chance.

Mr. Kind. Mr. Belk, you've been very gracious with your time. I know we're long over the time that we told you we would keep you here, and I appreciate, again, your voluntary compliance in appearing before our committee. Thank you very much.

Mr. Belk. Thank you.

Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Schaffer is recognized.

Mr. Schaffer. Mr. Chairman, good morning Mr. Belk. I'd like to direct your attention to exhibit 7, if I could, which is excerpts from the indictment filed against Bill Hamilton.


Mr. Schaffer. Please look at pages 12 through 14, which are part of the conspiracy count against Mr. Hamilton. These particular pages discuss plans, and I'm quoting--``plans to swap IBT funds in exchange for the DNC raising money for the Carey campaign.''


Basically, paragraphs 28 through 35 reveal a plan whereby the IBT would contribute large amounts of money to the DNC and in return the DNC would raise $100,000 for Ron Carey's campaign. The IBT contributed approximately $236,500 to various State Democratic parties as part of their end of the bargain, and the DNC located a foreign donor willing to donate to Carey's campaign. Now ultimately it was discovered that this potential donor was an employer, and thus ineligible to contribute under the Federal election rules.


Were you aware of a commitment made by the DNC to locate a $100,000 donor for the Carey campaign in return for IBT contributions to the DNC?

Mr. Belk. No, I was not.

Mr. Schaffer. Isn't in true that when you subsequently found out about this you told Earl Brown, the IBT's general counsel, that the Teamsters would sue the DNC to recover their money?

Mr. Belk. I had a conversation with Earl Brown following my reading of the 2,000 page document of testimony, depositions, and exhibits in that, that I felt that the IBT should take a position of trying to recoup all of the funds that went out in question, and he said that that would be pursued at the appropriate time.

Mr. Schaffer. What would be the appropriate time, in your estimation?

Mr. Belk. With, you know, the ongoing investigations that are ongoing now and some of the--internally, as a union, we don't have subpoena powers to subpoena certain witnesses, and I know there's been criticism about us not conducting internal investigations into all these matters, but we can't subpoena any of the people we need to, especially if they're no longer members, and the people that weren't members in the first place--the consultants.


We have no subpoena authority as the Teamsters to get those problems taken care of, and we're already paying as taxpayers and as a union; you know, we're triple-paying and quadruple-paying for investigations now, and, you know, we just--you know, it's a frustrating process to try to do something where you can't put all the pieces of the puzzles together. Certainly we wouldn't have been able to had we conducted an investigation internally on that.

Mr. Schaffer. So, just to be clear. Has any such lawsuit been initiated so far?

Mr. Belk. No to my knowledge, no.

Mr. Schaffer. Just as far as your opinion, is there any reason that has not been initiated so far, any legitimate reason that that has not been--

Mr. Belk. Well, I think there's a lot of litigation ongoing, and there's allegations, you know, and there's no need for us to file lawsuits at the present time until we're sure who we need to file a lawsuit against. And I think at the appropriate time that will be done. I'm confident that will be done.

Mr. Schaffer. What was--the suggestion that you made to Earl Brown that the Teamsters should sue the DNC to recover money--what was the context that that was made? Was that just made as part of a discussion, or was this a formal process where you were asking for--

Mr. Belk. In the discussion, as a follow-up to reading the transcripts, where you had allegations and conversations that apparently did take place, even though monies weren't transferred in that particular area, there may be some liability there. I'm looking at everything that you could possibly do to protect the fiduciary responsibility as an officer of the union--and the position I'm in is executive assistant--and given the fact that the general president is taking a leave, making sure we try to do everything we're supposed to do fiduciarily to make sure we don't make any mistakes and cover any of the bases that should be covered; don't face litigation ourselves for not doing that.

Mr. Schaffer. Thank you. You've been very kind to come here and testify and help the Congress today. We appreciate that. I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. The--Mr. Belk, you did talk to a Mr. Neigus, if that's correct--I think somebody touched on that earlier?--

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. --who is with the IBT, and he talked to you about your interview with the subcommittee staff. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Yes, about the two individuals who came to my home; yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did he ask you about if you may or may not have given any documents to the subcommittee staff?

Mr. Belk. In reference to what was discussed, and I told him basically the same questions I've been asked many times and that documents were looked at that I've seen many times, some that it was the first time for me to see them, but nothing that was any major surprise.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you tell him that you gave the subcommittee documents?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. And what was his response to that?

Mr. Belk. He requested copies of the documents, and I said, ``No problem. As soon as I get them back, I'll make copies and send them,'' which I will do.''

Chairman Hoekstra. Did he indicate to you that you may have violated an oath of office?

Mr. Belk. No. He just indicated I held several positions as a vice president and asked if I would be willing to speak to Mr. Smith or Mike, and I told him I had no problem doing that.

Chairman Hoekstra. Following your conversation with Mr. Neigus, did you receive a call from a partner in the law firm of Zuckerman, Spaeder, Goldstein, Kolker and Taylor, which is representing the IBT?

Mr. Belk. Yes; that would have been Mr. Smith.

Chairman Hoekstra. And what did Mr. Smith talk to you about?

Mr. Belk. The same thing Mr. Neigus talked about, just concerns that, did I need assistance? And that they were there and they represented the IBT, that they could come and sit next to me at this hearing and could advise me if I wanted them to. And I said, ``No; I didn't need that.'' I didn't think I did, and haven't up to this point.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you receive a call from the Justice Department?

Mr. Belk. Yes, I did.

Chairman Hoekstra. And what was the nature of that conversation?

Mr. Belk. Somewhat similar in nature--a request for documents, which I told them I would send them.

Chairman Hoekstra. Who told them that you had given documents to the subcommittee?

Mr. Belk. I suppose in the conversation we had, that probably came up--what type of documents--but I don't know. They asked for the documents.

Chairman Hoekstra. They asked for the documents without prompting? I mean, did they call and ask for the documents that you had given us? Or did you tell them, ``I've given them documents,'' and they said, ``Oh, can we have them, too?''

Mr. Belk. I think it was a similar conversation, where my subject matter discussed was very similar to other investigations and that the documents were similar, and they asked if I would send them documents. They had previously asked me to send them documents that I had thought they had received before, that I gave the IBT, and there were some questions raised that concerned me that apparently they didn't get the documents, so I was in the process of sending them documents anyway, after going through some of the records I had at home.

Chairman Hoekstra. When you were terminated--when were you terminated from employment as executive assistant?

Mr. Belk. I think the last day I worked in that capacity was May 12.

Chairman Hoekstra. What are your responsibilities as an elected vice president of the IBT?

Mr. Belk. Attend four quarterly meetings of the GEB and to vote on policy decisions and other matters that come before the GEB board.

Chairman Hoekstra. Do you have any authority as a vice president to bind the union by yourself in any fashion or as to any matter?

Mr. Belk. Individually?

Chairman Hoekstra. Yes.

Mr. Belk. No.

Chairman Hoekstra. Were you represented by counsel when you were contacted by the subcommittee staff members?

Chairman Hoekstra. When you were first contacted by the subcommittee, did the staff members identify themselves and indicate that they were employed by the subcommittee that was investigating the Teamsters?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you consider yourself to be represented by Teamsters' lawyers when contacted by subcommittee staffers?

Mr. Belk. No.

Chairman Hoekstra. Did you previously meet with individuals from the U.S. Attorney's office in New York without counsel?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. And when was that?

Mr. Belk. On two different occasions--July of 1997, I believe, and just a couple of months ago.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay. Did you previously provide deposition testimony to the Independent Review Board without counsel?

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. Okay. Mr. Kind?

Mr. Kind. No further questions.

Chairman Hoekstra. All right. Give me a break; I've got what are called a couple of mop-up questions, which I think for you means that we're almost done.

Mr. Belk. The good ones are for last.

Chairman Hoekstra. If you would just give me a minute to look at that.

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you very much for being here. Your testimony has been very helpful. There are a couple of areas that you've raised, and I just want to clarify. In the position that you served--I mean, you were kind of at the middle of the hub when you were the executive assistant. Is that correct? I mean, that's kind of the sense that I got as you and I have talked.

Mr. Belk. Right.

Chairman Hoekstra. And Mr. Carey was on the road a lot, and in those cases you really did serve as an executive assistant, trying to keep a feel for what was going on within the headquarters here in Washington and being kind of, perhaps, a representative of his interests and those types of things. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Chairman Hoekstra. We've identified some things that I would guess is, if you were in that position today and you knew about some of these things, you would be asking for more answers. I'm thinking of--my guess is you'd be taking a look at what happened to those donations that have gotten a number of people affiliated with Mr. Carey's campaign into legal difficulty, and you would want an explanation for that. Is that correct?--the different contribution swaps that we talked about.

Mr. Belk. Well, I think we all want answers to that area, but, you know, what we can do internally is very limited.

Chairman Hoekstra. Right.

Mr. Belk. But, yes, I would want some answers. There are some areas, and I talked to Tom about it, that, after viewing the documents--the 2,000 page documents and all the transcripts and depositions--there were areas which I felt that needed some attention.

Chairman Hoekstra. My guess is that you would, after seeing the deposition from Ruff and understanding where that money was spent--and they identified it as expenditures of around $250,000 for the Ethical Practices Committee--and, you, as the administrator of the Ethical Practices Committee not being aware of this, you might have some questions about those funds as well.

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. As I do today.

Chairman Hoekstra. As you do today. You have perhaps some concerns, or had expressed some concerns about getting an accounting for where the money went at the--with the Detroit Teamsters strike. Is that correct?

Mr. Belk. Yes. We--I, personally, had never seen any accounting on that.

Chairman Hoekstra. Because, you know, I appreciate your comments of Mr. Carey. And it was about a year ago that I had breakfast with Mr. Carey and Mr. Hamilton, and we were talking about some other issues on some other projects that we were working on, and that was about four to six weeks before that infamous day, on August 27, when the election was overturned.


You know, what happened? You've got Mr. Carey, the reformer, as you've identified for us, somebody that you've got a lot of respect for and who has brought a lot of openness to the Teamsters, and at the same time during the last four or five years, or at least during a part of his presidency here, he has now put a cloud over all of that work. I mean, how do you analyze what happened there, and the distinction between the Mr. Carey that you know and the activities that are now being exposed? And how does that occur? How did that occur?

Mr. Belk. Well, it's hard to put in context. I think the demands on that particular job, more than anybody--except for the individuals that have been there--could describe. But it's a political position not unlike your own. Once you're elected you have to deal with constituents, and to keep constituents happy you have to modify positions. You know, I'm not sure I have an answer for your question, but--

Chairman Hoekstra. I wish you did, because I feel like you do; it's a thousand piece puzzle that we're trying to put together.

Mr. Belk. Yes.

Chairman Hoekstra. And a political position is one; illegal activities are another. I mean, you know, you've got--

Mr. Belk. Well, I think I've expressed firmly to the subcommittee--I don't believe Ron Carey was involved in any illegal activity.

Chairman Hoekstra. I'm not saying he did, okay? Not at all. There is a process under which that will work its way out, and you're right. I mean, the southern district is looking at it, the IRB is looking at it, and who else is looking at it?


No. I'm saying--but, you know, what we do know is on the record, that three people have pled guilty, and that's--so that when I'm talking about illegal activities, I'm saying on the record we know that at least three people have admitted creating pretty serious illegal activities, and I'm just wondering what the atmosphere of the structure is within the Teamsters to allow that to happen. I mean, is it a hands-on management? Was it a hands-off management? Or is it fiefdoms--or what's going on over there?

Mr. Belk. Ron was a general president that liked being out of Washington. He didn't like being here any more than I do. He's a member president that received his energy and excited members everywhere he went, and most people here have heard him speak. He's probably the most dynamic speaker labor has had in modern history. He was not a person that liked the Washington environment or being tied down to a desk and the phone. He liked activity; he liked being in the middle of what was going on.


He was a part of the strike--not the general president looking down, so to speak, and dictating what happens. He went to the strike lines. He participated in the strike lines. He participated in all the job actions. The paperwork part of that job, for the most part, he delegated to my office. The responsibilities for making sure things didn't happen were delegated to my office.

Chairman Hoekstra. And he gave you a lot of responsibility. I mean, you were his executive assistant. That's correct.

Mr. Belk. Correct.

Chairman Hoekstra. And I think which, if he was hands-off, is what really gets to be troubling, is when people went around you; that's where we start running into real problems. You know, you don't see the legal bills. It may have been standard practice before, but, you know, you didn't see them or have an opportunity to review them, which is how you maybe get to the Ruff and Palladino--some of the expenses that you did see and you didn't approve of. You know, the IBT might have been a whole lot better off if they had listened to you back in October of 1996 and didn't make those contributions. Is that correct? Or--

Mr. Belk. Well, I think the unraveling of the situation speaks for itself, but the fact that I was sitting there and approve and disapprove things--you know, there are things that I turned down that--you know, my own personal view on things. Ron's view is more global, so to speak, over the union than mine, and some of his priorities and his wisdom in the areas that I don't have. You know, we went forward on some of those things; they turned out to be good things, and I'm not questioning anything that he might have approved that I turned down.

Chairman Hoekstra. I don't have any more questions. Mr. Kind? Mr. Schaffer?

Without objection, all members will have three legislative days to submit material for the record.

Mr. Belk, thank you very much for participating today. You've been very, very helpful and very, very gracious. Thank you.

Mr. Belk. Thank you.

Chairman Hoekstra. The hearing stands adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 12:17 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]