Before winning the Teamsters’ endorsement, Barack Obama said he’d support ending government oversight of the union, an unusual stance for a presidential candidate, reports the Wall Street Journal. An independent board has policed the historically organized-crime-influenced Teamsters since 1992; Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Al Gore left the matter to the Justice Department.
An Obama spokesman said the board “has run its course” because mob influence has waned. A union spokesman said the endorsement was “predicated in no way, shape or form” on Obama’s private reassurances. A spokesman for Hillary Clinton jumped on the issue, but Politico reported that she told a Teamster audience in 2007 it could be time to “turn the page” on federal oversight.