Trading back scratching with the Teamsters

Thursday, March 1, 2001 at 1:00am

While ostentatiously pursuing an "investigation" of the Marc Rich pardon (which will lead precisely nowhere), Mary Jo White, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has stubbornly refused to indict top Democratic and union officials directly implicated in a money-laundering scheme uncovered by her own office some years ago.

In what is now called the Teamsters Swap Scandal, prosecutors working for Mary Jo White won three guilty pleas from top Teamsters aides back in 1997. Two years later, the Teamsters' former political director, William Hamilton, was convicted for his role in the kickback scheme. But for four years now, the big kahunas implicated in the money-swap operation have been largely forgotten by White's office. One big fish studiously ignored by Ms. White is the current chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton pal, Terry McAuliffe.

At the center of the money-laundering scheme was Ron Carey, who had been anointed Teamsters president by "the most ethical administration in history" as part of an ingenious plan to "clean up" the Teamsters. When Teamsters legacy James Hoffa Jr. later challenged Carey for the union presidency in 1996, Carey's aides

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