The Wall Street Journal on the expansion of a federal corruption investigation surrounding the United Auto Workers
Labor Day must have been grim this year at the headquarters of the United Auto Workers. Federal agents last week raided the homes of the union’s president, Gary Jones, and a former president. They haven’t been criminally charged, but it’s an escalation of a probe that has already won guilty pleas.
For years the investigation has focused on the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler unit, which prosecutors say marinated in a “culture of corruption.” Thousands of dollars, purportedly allocated for worker training, were instead allegedly misspent on lavish parties, steakhouse tabs, gifts such as a $2,000 Italian shotgun, and much more.
Last month former UAW vice president Norwood Jewell was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Last year a former Fiat Chrysler vice president who negotiated with the UAW, Alphons Iacobelli, received 5 ½ years. The point of this illegal scheme, according to the feds, was to keep union leaders “fat, dumb and happy.”
Now the investigation seems to be expanding. Three weeks ago a retired staffer at the union’s General Motors training center, Michael Grimes, was accused of taking kickbacks on contracts. The court documents mention, but do not name, two other “senior officials in the UAW GM Department” who were allegedly in on the action. Mr. Grimes plans to take a plea deal, his lawyer told local media, which means he may be cooperating with prosecutors.
After last week’s raids, the union put out a statement saying that it is cooperating with investigators and that Mr. Jones “is determined to uncover and address any and all wrongdoing, wherever it might lead.” ...