UAW leader, a former GM board member, charged in ongoing federal corruption probe

Joe Ashton
Former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton speaks during a GM announcement at a plant in
Spring Hill, Tenn. in 2011. GM

DETROIT – Federal prosecutors have charged retired United Auto Workers Vice President Joseph Ashton, a former board member of General Motors, as part of its corruption probe into the union.

Ashton, who resigned from the GM board in December 2017 after reportedly being linked to the investigation, was charged with “conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud” and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Ashton was charged on Wednesday in a criminal information filing, which indicates a guilty plea is expected.

Federal prosecutors accuse Ashton, who retired from the union in July 2014, 

Ashton is the 13th person charged as part of the probe, including 10 officials affiliated with the union and three Fiat Chrysler executives. Ten people have been convicted thus far.

When the federal investigation was made public in July 2017, it focused on a jointly operated training center between the UAW and Fiat Chrysler. But it quickly expanded to probes into similar operations with General Motors and , which both previously confirmed they were cooperating with the investigation.

In recent months, the probe has widened to unaffiliated with the training centers being involved in embezzlement of union funds, money laundering and other illegal activities.

No one from the union’s Ford department has been charged and neither have any executives with GM or Ford. GM, as part of a recently-ratified contract with the union, dissolved the training center.

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