Pipefitters v. United States
407 U.S. 385 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pipefitters v. United States, 407 U.S. 385 (1972)

Pipefitters Local Union No. 562 v. United States

No. 70-74

Argued January 11, 1972

Decided June 22, 1972

407 U.S. 385

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Petitioner union and three of its officers were convicted of conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. § 610, which prohibited a labor organization from making a contribution or an expenditure in connection with a federal election. Evidence indicated that the union, from 1949 through 1962, maintained a political fund to which union members and others working under the union's jurisdiction were required to contribute, and that that fund was then succeeded by the present fund, which was, in form, set up as a separate "voluntary" organization; union officials, nevertheless, retained unlimited control over the fund, and no significant change was made in the regular and systematic collection of contributions at a prescribed rate based on hours worked; union agents, moreover, continued to collect donations at jobsites on union time, and the proceeds were used for a variety of purposes, including political contributions in connection with federal elections; those contributions, on the other hand, were made from accounts strictly segregated from union dues and assessments, and, although some of the contributors believed otherwise, donations to the fund were not, in fact, necessary for employment or union membership. Under instructions to determine whether the fund was in reality a union fund or the contributors' fund, the jury found each defendant guilty. The Court of Appeals rejected petitioners' challenges, and held that the fund was a subterfuge through which the union made political contributions of union monies in violation of § 610. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which became effective after oral argument here, added a paragraph at the end of § 610 that expressly authorizes labor organizations to establish, administer, and solicit contributions for political funds, provided that the fund not make a contribution or expenditure in connection with a federal election by utilizing money or anything of value secured by physical force, job discrimination, financial reprisals, or the threat thereof, or by monies required as a condition of employment or union membership.

Held:

1. Section 610, as confirmed by the Federal Election Campaign Act, does not apply to contributions or expenditures from voluntarily

Page 407 U. S. 386

financed union political funds. A legitimate political fund must be separate from the sponsoring union only in the sense that there must be a strict segregation of its monies from union dues and assessments, and solicitation by union officials, although permissible, must be conducted under circumstances plainly indicating that donations are for a political purpose, and that those solicited may decline to contribute without reprisal. Pp. 407 U. S. 401-427.

2. Section 10 may be interpreted to prohibit the use of general union monies for the establishment, administration, or solicitation of contributions for union political funds. By clearly permitting such use, the Federal Election Campaign Act may, therefore, have impliedly repealed § 610. Pp. 407 U. S. 428-432.

3. Even if there has been such an implied repeal, it nevertheless does not require abatement of the prosecution against petitioners because of the federal saving statute, 1 U.S.C. § 109. United States v. Reisinger,128 U. S. 398, followed. Hamm v. Rock Hill,379 U. S. 306, distinguished. Pp. 407 U. S. 432-435.

4. The instructions to the jury were clearly erroneous because they permitted the jury to convict without finding that donations to the fund had been actual or effective dues or assessments. The sufficiency of the indictment is left open for determination on remand. Pp. 407 U. S. 435-442.

434 F.2d 1127, vacated and remanded to the District Court with instructions to dismiss indictment against petitioners Callanan and Lawler, both now deceased, and reversed and remanded to the District Court as to remaining petitioners.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. POWELL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J., joined, post, p. 407 U. S. 442. BLACKMUN, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Page 407 U. S. 387

MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioners -- Pipefitters Local Union No. 562 and three individual officers of the Union -- were convicted by a jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri of conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 371 to violate 1 U.S.C. § 610. At the time of trial, § 610 provided in relevant part:

"It is unlawful . . . for any corporation whatever, or any labor organization to make a contribution or expenditure in connection with any election at which Presidential and Vice Presidential electors or a Senator or Representative in . . . Congress are to be voted for, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any of the foregoing offices. . . ."

"Every corporation or labor organization which makes any contribution or expenditure in violation of this section shall be fined not more than $5,000; and every officer or director of any corporation, or officer of any labor organization, who consents to any contribution or expenditure by the corporation or labor organization, as the case may be, . . . in violation of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than on year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined

Page 407 U. S. 388

not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

"For the purposes of this section 'labor organization' means any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exist [sic] for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work. [Footnote 1]"

The indictment charged, in essence, that petitioners had conspired from 1963 to May 9, 1968, to establish and maintain a fund that (1) would receive regular and systematic payments from Local 562 members and members of other locals working under the Union's jurisdiction; (2) would have the appearance, but not the reality of being an entity separate from the Union; and (3) would conceal contributions and expenditures by the Union in connection with federal elections in violation of § 610. [Footnote 2]

Page 407 U. S. 389

The evidence tended to show, in addition to disbursements of about $150,000 by the fund to candidates in federal elections, an identity between the fund and the

Page 407 U. S. 390

Union and a collection of well over $1 million in contributions to the fund by a method similar to that employed in the collection of dues or assessments. In particular,

Page 407 U. S. 391

it was established that, from 1949 through 1962, the Union maintained a political fund to which Union members and others working under the Union's jurisdiction were, in fact, required to contribute, and that the fund was then succeeded in 1963 by the present fund, which was, in form, set up as a separate "voluntary" organization. Yet a principal Union officer assumed the

Page 407 U. S. 392

role of director of the present fund, with full and unlimited control over its disbursements. The Union's business manager, petitioner Lawler, became the first director of the fund, and was later succeeded by petitioner Callanan, whom one Local 562 member described as "the Union" in explaining his influence within the local. Moreover, no significant change was made in the regular and systematic method of collection of contributions at a prescribed rate based on hours worked, and Union agents continued to collect donations at jobsites on Union time. In addition, changes in the rate of contributions were tied to changes in the rate of members' assessments. In 1966, for example, when assessments were increased from 2 1/2% to 3 3/4% of gross wages, the contribution rate was decreased from $1 to 50

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