RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
DOCKET NO.: 70-74
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
CITATION: 407 US 385 (1972)
ARGUED: Jan 11, 1972
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1972
Lawrence G. Wallace - argued the cause for the United States
Morris A. Shenker - for petitioners
Facts of the case
Media for Pipefitters Local Union No. 562 v. United States
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 11, 1972 in Pipefitters Local Union No. 562 v. United States
Warren E. Burger:
We will hear arguments next in Number 70-74, Pipefitters Local Union against the United States.
Mr. Shenker you may proceed whenever you are ready.
Morris A. Shenker:
Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.
This case involves an indictment that was returned in the City of St. Louis charging a labor union, Local 562 -- Pipefitters Union Local Number 562 and three individuals that conspire to make unlawful -- to make political contributions from that Local.
The indictment in the case alleged that a political fund was established from which fund contributions would be made and the indictment stated that this fund was the fund of the Local Union.
There was no allegation in the indictment that the contributions were made involuntary by the members of the union and non-members of the Union who worked under the jurisdiction of the Union, who made these contributions.
And the indictment alleges that as part of that scheme or artifacts that the funds were collected by officers, stewards, members, and employees of the fund -- that is of the union and they were also collecting that the members and the officers of the Union were collecting for the fund.
Pre-trial motions were filed and in the pre-trial motions, it was alleged that the indictment was attacked on the ground that it was not charged that the contributions were made involuntarily on the ground that it was not alleged in the indictment that the payments were union dues and that the gist of the pre-trial motion was -- and the gist was that this was really a parallel political fund that was set up by the Union and that for purpose of receiving and making political expenditures.
Receiving political contributions or making political expenditures and we contended that there was no violation shown on the face of the indictment.
A bill of particulars was requested but instead of the bill of particulars, the government merely filed a court memorandum and in that memorandum, the government stated that it was not necessary that it was no necessity to prove that the funds were not volunteered.
That voluntariness was not an essence of the crime that was charged.
The government's theory of the case at the trial was that they submitted an instruction and that instruction which was set up in appellants and petitioners’ brief in pages 12 and 13 lists a number of grounds.
The original 10 grounds which are listed on page 12 were submitted by the government and that the request of the defendants’ additional grounds were at it and that basis, the Court instructed the jury and gave that as the task that those are the matters which the jury could consider whether the fund was in fact a fund of the Union or rather that was a voluntary political fund.
That was established by the union.
The defendants’ requested instructions where in it would specifically state as to that making voluntary payments as a defense and the Court said in the instruction however, the mere fact that the payments into the fund may have been made voluntary by some or even all of the contributors thereto does not of itself.
The Court said it means that the monies that were paid into the fund was not union money and it is on that theory on which the case was tried.
The defendants also submitted two instructions which I will refer to later.
They submitted many instructions, but two particular instructions which we thought set up specifically the law that should be governed in accordance with the prior decisions of this Court.
But the Court refused all of the requested instructions from the defendants and the only ones that the Court incorporated were those which are set out in the footnote on page 20.
Now the facts were as follows.
But first let me say this, let me say this.
The jury found the defendants guilty and the individuals as well as the union?
The union was fined $5,000.00 and each defendant was sentenced to one year in jail and a punishment, an additional fine of $1,000.00.
The history of the fund is this.
In 1949, a political fund was established by this, a voluntary political fund was established by this union and it was administered independently openly and notoriously and they made contributions of hundreds of thousands of dollars from 1949 on until the date of the conviction.
But there was one change that took place in this fund in 1963.
The union negotiated a contract with the employers who provided for a check off system and when they provided for the check off system, they consulted with their lawyer, a very prominent labor lawyer in the St. Louis who has devoted most of his lifetime to labor law, Mr. Harry Craig whose name is mentioned and who was a witness in the case.
And Mr. Craig at that time suggested, in view of a decision that was in the law that prevailed that the Eastern District of Missouri.
It was a case wherein the Teamsters were prosecuted at Local 688 was prosecuted for making contributions from the union to which the judge sustained a motion to dismiss after the evidence was in on the ground that this was -- that the money came in voluntarily to the Union.
Mr. Craig first suggested that there should be a check off of the political contributions that is the voluntary political contributions in the same manner as they checked off the other monies that was collected by the Union but it would be paid specifically to the voluntary political fund.