The Teamsters in Chicago are continually linked to organized crime--so why is a presidential candidate from that city promising to end federal oversight of the union?
There are two reasons to be concerned about Obama's actions here. The first is procedural. Obama's promise to close down the IRB suggests a Bush-like contempt for the customary relationship between government and the judicial process. The president himself can't shut down the IRB. He can only recommend to his attorney general that he recommend to the U.S. Attorney in New York that it be shut down. But in these kind of touchy matters, presidents usually defer to the judgment of their attorney generals. By coming close to promising a shutdown, Obama was putting politics above judicial procedure--which is just the kind of "Washington" behavior that he likes to criticize his opponents for doing.
The second reason for concern is more substantive. Labor leaders have made plausible arguments for shutting down the IRB, but a Chicago politician should be extremely wary of acceding to them. If there is continuing mob influence in the Teamsters, it is probably centered in the Chicago area. And in the last decade, the Teamsters in Chicago have shown little enthusiasm for rooting out corruption in their ranks. As a veteran Chicago politician surrounded by a veteran Chicago campaign staff, Obama had to have known this--and that makes his warm words to the Teamsters all the more disturbing.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Believe it or not, The New Republic is doing the "Lord's Work" in exposing the crime syndicate Obama is part of. Read the whole thing despite the obligatory swipe at Bush.