Top Democratic presidential candidates took more than $100,000 from United Auto Workers and rushed to show solidarity with striking GM employees despite an ongoing federal probe into allegations of corruption at the union.
Former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) have received more than $100,000 in political donations from the union over the course of their careers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Democrats are vying for organized labor's support in a crowded primary, but their shows of solidarity with striking auto workers come amid a federal corruption probe that has already led to nine guilty pleas.
An affidavit filed in federal court accuses UAW officials of extensive corruption and mass misuse of union funds. Union members allegedly spent $400,000 to rent and clean private villas, $120,000 on golf outings, and $50,000 on two parties for the union's governing body. Those gatherings included "ultra-premium" liquor and cigars, a person to roll cigars, and provocatively dressed women to light the cigars for UAW officials, according to the probe.