Jimmy Hoffa Part 2 – Cleaning Up the Teamsters

Big Labor history of forced unionism abuses from Robert F. Kennedy’s The Enemy Within: The McClellan Committee’s Crusade Against Jimmy Hoffa And Corrupt Labor Unions:

By August of 1958, the McClellan Committee had uncovered a mass of crookedness and wrongdoing in the Teamsters. There were demands that Hoffa take steps to clean up his union. However, I was convinced by this time that he was completely incapable of doing the job-had he cared to. He was dependent on the racketeers and ex-convicts with whom he had surrounded the Barney Bakers. So when in August of 1958 Hoffa announced that he was appointing a special committee to investigate corruption in his union, I was suspicious.

And when I heard that George Bender was to be the chairman of the committee I was flabbergasted. Although at that point we had not made it public, we had learned not only from Jim Luken but from a friendly source within the Teamsters that the Hoffa-Bender relationship was an intimate one dating back to the 1954 Bender investigation.

(The Committee had found that approximately $109,000-at least $30,000 in cash-went through George Bender’s campaign committee bank accounts following that 1954 election. The money was never reported to state authorities-though there may be some question if it is necessary to report campaign funds received after an election is over and won.)

After Jim Luken testified, Bender had asked to appear before our Committee. He did so on July 8 and 9, 1959. By this time he had served for nearly a year as chairman of Hoffa’s anti-racketeering committee.

He admitted that he had done nothing in the specific cases of Hoffa’s Ohio henchmen, Presser and Triscaro, about whom our Committee had uncovered a mass of unsavory evidence. George Bender had personal knowledge of their activities dating back to 1954. Any honest man would have moved against those two the day he accepted his job. But Bender had grown closer to Presser and Triscaro since they had appeared before his Committee. Indeed, at the time Jimmy Hoffa hired him as a “clean-up man,” Bender had been preparing to go to work for Presser and the Ohio Teamsters as a “public relations man.” The payment he had already accepted he hurriedly returned when he discovered our Committee was investigating it.