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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021,    )           Protest Decision 2021 ESD 169

                                                                        )           Issued: October 30, 2021

Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-193-102021-NE



O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021, a slate of candidates for International office, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2020-2021 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  The protest alleged that Bernadette Kelly, candidate for IBT at-large vice president on the Teamster Power slate, violated the Rules by accepting campaign contributions from persons ineligible to make them.


Election Supervisor representative Terry Flick investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            Article XI, Section 1(b)(1) mandates that “[o]nly contributions which are properly made, accepted, and reported under these Rules may be expended or used by candidates” in the election.  Only members may make campaign contributions, Article XI, Section 1(b)(8), and candidates and slates are barred from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions from nonmembers, Article, Section 1(b)(4).  “Nonmember” is a person who is not a “member,” Definition 33; “nonmember” also includes “any former member of the IBT (including a retiree),” Article XI, Section 1(b)(4).


            The protestor alleged that respondent Kelly accepted funds from 4 named persons who are not members of the IBT.  Investigation showed that, between September 17 and 19, 2021, Kelly accepted contributions from those 4 persons, all of whom claimed they were members of Local Union 817.  They were and are not.  Investigation showed that they pay a monthly “administrative fee” to the local union and are coded in the TITAN membership database as “nonmembers.”[1]


A candidates or slate receiving a contribution from any person is required to enter the person’s name, local union number, SSN4, and contribution amount into the CCERS system maintained by the Office of the Election Supervisor.  That system provides immediate information as to membership status and whether the contribution is permitted under the Rules.  Investigation of the 4 contributions at issue here showed that Kelly entered the names and learned they were not members. 


When a candidate finds that a person claiming to be a member does not appear in the CCERS database, the candidate is required to reject the contribution, unless the candidate verifies with the TITAN operator for the local union in which membership is claimed that the person is indeed a member.  Kelly did not do so.  Rather, she relied on the assertions of the contributors themselves as to their membership status and then manually added each name to the CCERS system database.  Based on that manual addition, she then verified the sums, totaling $750, as campaign contributions permitted by the Rules.  Her action with respect to these contributions was improper and violated the Rules.


Accordingly, we GRANT the protest with respect to these 4 contributions.  We order Kelly, no later than Tuesday, November 2, 2021, to remove these contributions totaling $750 from her campaign’s general account and place them in her campaign’s escrow account.  Thereafter, she must refund each contribution, unless she receives written consent from the contributor to accept the contribution into her campaign’s legal and accounting account, to which nonmembers may permissibly make contributions.  Article XI, Section 1(b)(5); Advisory on Campaign Contributions, Expenditures and Disclosures, p. 22.


Investigation further showed some 102 additional contributions to Kelly’s campaign, totaling $3,002.50, where the CCERS system designated the contributor either as a nonmember, on leave, on withdrawal, suspended, or retired.  The candidate or her representative overrode the CCERS designation in each instance, and the contribution was added to the campaign general fund as a permitted contribution.  With issuance of this decision, we have provided the list of these contributions to Kelly.  We order Kelly, no later than Friday, November 5, 2021, to SHOW CAUSE why these contributions should not be deemed impermissible contributions from nonmembers.  In the interim, we order Kelly, no later than Tuesday, November 2, 2021, to remove these contributions totaling $3,002.50 from her campaign’s general account and place them in her campaign’s escrow account.


We reserve further remedy on this protest, including possible sanctions for accepting impermissible contributions, pending Kelly’s response to the show cause order.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within two (2) working days of receipt of this decision.  Any party requesting a hearing must comply with the requirements of Article XIII, Section 2(i).  All parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely in any such appeal upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Supervisor.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing, shall specify the basis for the appeal, and shall be served upon:


Barbara Jones

Election Appeals Master


Copies of the request for hearing must be served upon the parties, as well as upon the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, all within the time prescribed above.  Service may be accomplished by email, using the “reply all” function on the email by which the party received this decision.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for hearing.


                                                                  Richard W. Mark

                                                                  Election Supervisor

cc:        Barbara Jones

            2021 ESD 169









Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters


Edward Gleason


Patrick Szymanski


Will Bloom


Tom Geoghegan


Rob Colone


Barbara Harvey


Fred Zuckerman


Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union


Scott Jenkins

Bernadette Kelly


James Donovan


Terry Flick


Jeffrey Ellison

[1] The TITAN code applied to them is 24, designating them as “administrative fee” payers, a code designating them expressly as nonmembers.