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Panel Head Complains About Union

April 9, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The chairman of a House subcommittee probing the Teamsters has complained to Attorney General Janet Reno that the union, which is operating under a federal consent decree, has failed to fully comply with subpoenas.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., also charged in his April 6 letter that if the union’s federally appointed auditor, Marvin Levy, had approved any expenses related to the union’s subpoena response, he had ``violated his fiduciary obligations.″

Hoekstra, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee’ oversight subcommittee, and the union have been wrangling for months over the scope of the panel’s investigation for months. While Hoekstra says he wants to evaluate the effectiveness of the federally supervised cleanup of the union, Teamsters officials contend his hearings are a partisan attack.

He complained to Reno that the Teamsters had ``instructed third parties not to produce materials sought by this subcommittee.″

``I trust you will use your powers under the consent decree to ensure that no (Teamsters) funds are used to obstruct this subcommittee’s investigation,″ Hoekstra wrote.

Leslie Kiernan, an attorney for the union, said in a response letter that the Teamsters had turned over some 40,000 pages of documents and questioned the subcommittee’s intent.

``From the outset, the IBT has made it clear that it will cooperate with all lawful requests made by the subcommittee. That has been met by the general position that the subcommittee is entitled to anything that it requests,″ Kiernan wrote. It seems that the subcommittee is intent on creating a dispute over an improper subpoena.″

Kiernan also told the subcommittee that the union would drop its objection to accounting firm Grant Thornton turning over to the committee its audits of the union.

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