U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530
NOV 8 1996
Mr. Kenneth F. Boehm
National Legal and Policy Center
8321 Old Courthouse Road
Vienna, Virginia 22182
Dear Mr. Boehm
Your letter to the Attorney General regarding the Justice Department's agreement to settle a civil RICO law suit against the Laborer's International Union of North America, AFL-CIO (LIUNA) has been forwarded to this office for response. Specifically, your letter complains that the appearance is that "the Department of Justice is allowing continued mob control of LIUNA because it is an enormous source of contributions for the President and his allies."
On February 15, 1995, the Department of Justice entered an agreement which provided that LIUNA would be allowed an initial 90-day period in which to begin a process of internal reform directed at removing La Cosa Nostra (LCN) as a source of influence in the affairs of LIUNA. If at any time after the expiration of that 90-day period up to February 13, 1998, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice determines that imposition of court supervision is "necessary or desirable," he or she may direct that a civil complaint and previously agreed upon Consent Decree be filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. That previously agreed upon Consent Decree establishes court appointed officers to oversee the reform of LIUNA and provides for other court mandated reforms, including direct rank-and-file election of all international officers of LIUNA.
Pursuant to the agreement between LIUNA and the Department of Justice, LIUNA is currently pursuing internal reform measures designed to rid LIUNA of any corrupting influence of organized crime. Pursuant to its internal reform program, LIUNA has adopted a series of measures, including: the implementation of a new ethics code, election reform, job referral reform, legislative and constitutional reform, personnel and structural reform, and undertaken numerous investigations, audits and disciplinary matters.
LIUNA has appointed four independent officers, all former federal law enforcement officials, to oversee its internal disciplinary process. Pursuant to the implementation of this disciplinary process, LIUNA has opened more than three hundred forty-five investigation and completed more than ninety. At least twenty-five LIUNA officers and members, including at least thirteen LCN members and associates, have been removed from their LIUNA positions for violations of LIUNA's ethical practices code. This internal disciplinary mechanism has been applied to LIUNA officers at the international level of the union including its current General President. LIUNA has also launched major initiatives against organized crime control of LIUNA entities in Chicago, Buffalo, New York City and other locations.
In addition, at the insistence of the Department of Justice, LIUNA has adopted substantial election reform by amending its Constitution to provide for direct rank-and-file election of its General President and General Secretary-Treasurer, a practice followed in only a handful of unions in this country. A referendum is being submitted to the general membership of LIUNA this fall to determine if the International Vice-Presidents, elected on a regional basis, will also be elected by direct rank-and-file voting beginning in 2001. Recently, LIUNA held its general convention at which there was substantial opposition to the reelection of the LIUNA General Executive Board officers for the first time in the union's history.
The Department of Justice is closely monitoring LIUNA's efforts to carry out internal reform to eliminate corruption and Department representatives regularly meet with the persons directing LIUNA's internal reform effort to ensure that the effort is effective. However, because the decision whether to file the complaint and Consent Decree is still pending, it would be inappropriate to elaborate further on the Department's decision making process in this matter.
If you have specific details or information you believe would be of interest to the government in its oversight of the LIUNA internal reform program, you should contact your local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or contact J. Kenneth Lowrie of this office or Assistant United States Attorneys Craig A. Oswald or David B. Buvinger in Chicago, Illinois.
Frank J. Marine
Organized Crime and Racketeering Section
cc: The Honorable James B. Burns
United States Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
Chicago, IL 60604
Attn: AUSA Craig A. Oswald
AUSA David B. Buvinger