Tags: united auto workers | union | election | democrats

Ex-UAW President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

gary jones is shown with the uaw logo in the background
Former United Auto Workers president Gary Jones (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 04 June 2020 09:56 AM

Former United Auto Workers president Gary Jones pleaded guilty Wednesday to using more than $1 million in union funds to pay for vacation rentals, fine dining, golf trips, clothing and high-end cigars, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

Jones, a close ally to Democrats at the state and national levels, was charged with embezzlement in March as part of an ongoing corruption investigation into the union. 

According to a release from the Justice Department, Jones also pleaded guilty to racketeering and tax evasion. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Jones will serve between 46-57 months in prison. He also will pay fines. 

Law enforcement officials said the investigation into the union is still ongoing. The release stated 14 people have been convicted in connection with the corruption probe. 

The ongoing investigation hasn’t prevented the union from getting involved in the presidential election. In April, the union endorsed Joe Biden.

In the 2020 election cycle, the union contributed $1 million to the Senate Majority PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Before that, the union’s political action committee was involved in the 2018 cycle. It donated $200,000 to the Michigan Democratic Party and raised $68,000 for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's campaign.

Since 2008, the Center for Responsive Politics reports the union has spent more than $11.6 million on contributions to Democrats.

When GM employees went on strike in September 2019, Biden praised the union, the newspaper reports. At that time nine UAW officials had already admitted to wrongdoing.

Michigan Republican Party chairwoman Laura Cox said she was happy about Jones’s guilty plea.

"For too long, UAW bosses took advantage of our nation's hard-working auto workers. Given political cover by some of the nation's most powerful Democrats, their corruption went unchecked," Cox told the Free Beacon. "I applaud efforts by the federal government to end this dark chapter in labor history, and finally bring those responsible to justice. Hopefully, today marks a new era for American workers and greater Federal oversight of how unions conduct their business."

Mark Mix, executive president of the National Right to Work Committee, called the guilty plea "shameful but hardly surprising." He said Biden and the union have shared interests, which was made clear during the endorsement and Biden's support of members paying mandatory dues. 

"If Biden and the UAW elite get their way, American private sector workers' freedom to withhold money from corrupt union brass will be completely extinguished," Mix said in a statement. "Union bosses will shower his campaign with union money, including forced dues, in exchange for these promises of expanded coercive privileges."

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Former United Auto Workers president Gary Jones pleaded guilty Wednesday to using more than $1 million in union funds to pay for vacation rentals, fine dining, golf trips, clothing and high-end cigars, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
united auto workers, union, election, democrats
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2020-56-04
Thursday, 04 June 2020 09:56 AM
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