Obama Says Teamsters Need Less Oversight

Presidential candidates make all sorts of deals to get coveted endorsements. With industries like oil and securities, there is usually the unspoken agreement to ease up on the regulations, thus making doing business a less onerous proposition.

But Barack Obama apparently took the deal making to new frontiers in his negotiations for the Teamsters Union endorsement.

From a story in today's Wall Street Journal:

Sen. Barack Obama won the endorsement of the Teamsters earlier this year after privately telling the union he supported ending the strict federal oversight imposed to root out corruption, according to officials from the union and the Obama campaign.

It's an unusual stance for a presidential candidate. Policy makers have largely treated monitoring of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as a legal matter left to the Justice Department since an independent review board was set up in 1992 to eliminate mob influence in the union.


Sen. Obama's rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, has declined to take a stance on Teamsters oversight. During his eight years in office, President Bill Clinton took no action to end the special board. Democratic presidential nominees in 2000 and 2004 -- Al Gore and John Kerry -- didn't address the issue, according to Teamsters officials.

The Teamsters are headed up by James P. Hoffa, son of the colorful Jimmy Hoffa who made the union synonomous with mob control. James Hoffa has received high marks for cleaning up the union and resisting organized crime's attempts to infiltrate its operations - especially its lucrative pension fund. But most observers believe that because of the decentralized nature of the Union's leadership, certain locals have resisted Hoffa's efforts to root out corruption. Hence, government oversight is still vitally necessary.

The bargaining by Obama to woo the Teamsters is just one more indication that the candidate's "new politics" sure looks a lot like the "old politics."

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky


Presidential candidates make all sorts of deals to get coveted endorsements. With industries like oil and securities, there is usually the unspoken agreement to ease up on the regulations, thus making doing business a less onerous proposition.

But Barack Obama apparently took the deal making to new frontiers in his negotiations for the Teamsters Union endorsement.

From a story in today's Wall Street Journal:

Sen. Barack Obama won the endorsement of the Teamsters earlier this year after privately telling the union he supported ending the strict federal oversight imposed to root out corruption, according to officials from the union and the Obama campaign.

It's an unusual stance for a presidential candidate. Policy makers have largely treated monitoring of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as a legal matter left to the Justice Department since an independent review board was set up in 1992 to eliminate mob influence in the union.


Sen. Obama's rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, has declined to take a stance on Teamsters oversight. During his eight years in office, President Bill Clinton took no action to end the special board. Democratic presidential nominees in 2000 and 2004 -- Al Gore and John Kerry -- didn't address the issue, according to Teamsters officials.

The Teamsters are headed up by James P. Hoffa, son of the colorful Jimmy Hoffa who made the union synonomous with mob control. James Hoffa has received high marks for cleaning up the union and resisting organized crime's attempts to infiltrate its operations - especially its lucrative pension fund. But most observers believe that because of the decentralized nature of the Union's leadership, certain locals have resisted Hoffa's efforts to root out corruption. Hence, government oversight is still vitally necessary.

The bargaining by Obama to woo the Teamsters is just one more indication that the candidate's "new politics" sure looks a lot like the "old politics."

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky