After five weeks of trial and two days of deliberations, a U.S. District Court jury Friday convicted a former Teamsters executive of embezzlement, mail and wire fraud, and perjury.
William W. Hamilton, political director for ousted Teamsters President Ron Carey, could face up to 30 years in prison.
Prosecutors said that in October 1996, Hamilton authorized $885,000 in contributions from the financially struggling Teamsters union to four political organizations in exchange for contributions to Carey's 1996 re-election campaign. Richard Sullivan, former finance director of the Democratic National Committee, testified that President Clinton's chief fundraiser urged him and others to find donors for Carey.
The situation apparently was a way for Carey's campaign team to get around laws prohibiting the union from paying for the election campaigns of union members. Carey narrowly defeated James P. Hoffa in the 1996 election. His victory was later overturned after investigators found that Carey's campaign improperly benefited from donations made by the union. The Independent Review Board in Washington has permanently barred Carey and Hamilton from the union.
In a press release, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said she was pleased with the verdict because it "sends a clear and unmistakable message that rank-and-file union dues cannot be misappropriated to promote one union candidate over another."