The Clinton for President campaign in Maryland, assisted by its backers in organized labor here, demanded the ouster of President Bush's Maryland campaign director yesterday because he worked for a firm that was accused of putting "Made-in-the-USA" labels on Japanese-made products.
Bo Denysyk, the Bush-Quayle official, confirmed that he has worked as a consultant for the Japanese-owned Mazak Corp. Mazak has been accused of shipping machine tools to the
United States and relabeling them to qualify for sale to the American military.
"While Denysyk cashes his checks from the Japanese machine tool industry, our own machine tool industry right here in America is struggling to survive," Ernie Greco, president of the Baltimore AFL-CIO, said at a news conference yesterday. Imported machine tools now have 50 percent of the U.S. market, he said.
An Oct. 4 report on the CBS program "60 Minutes" said the mislabeling charges against Mazak were made public first by a Mazak employee in 1988. Mr. Denysyk says he was hired in 1989.
An $18 million suit was filed against the company by an attorney, Ann Lugbill, on behalf of the whistle-blower and the American people. "60 Minutes" said Mazak officials, who say any mislabeling happened by mistake, have offered to settle the suit but declined to disclose the amount of the settlement.
"I've been aware of the allegations," Mr. Denysyk said, "but I had nothing to do with that. If they were proven guilty I would not continue to work for them." "60 Minutes" interviewed several company employees who said they had removed the Japanese markings and, after a few small alterations, put on a "Made in the USA label."
Mr. Denysyk said he has been a marketing adviser to the company and a consultant on government regulations, including requirements for labeling. He worked for Mazak through his company, Global USA, which still does consulting work for Mazak. He said he has been on leave from Global during the
Mr. Denysyk remains registered with the federal government as an agent for Mazak and several other foreign companies.
Mr. Denysyk was a Commerce Department official in the Reagan administration. His government work gave him great familiarity with labeling requirements, and he said he was hired to "help [Mazak] understand the regulations and then affix the proper labels."
Labeling may seem like a simple and straightforward task, but complicated and differing regulations are imposed by the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Customs Service.
The union officials said Mr. Denysyk should resign from the campaign whatever the circumstances of his employment. And they called on Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, chairwoman of the Bush/Quayle effort in Maryland, to oust him. Ms. Bentley, the unions observed approvingly, has been an ardent opponent of Japanese trade practices.
Mr. Denysyk said Mrs. Bentley is aware he worked for Mazak.
The Clinton campaign and the unions, he said, are trying to make "one and one equal three."
"Anybody who went to the next step and looked at my personal background and views, publicly stated before Congress and in articles, would see that I have supported U.S. manufacturing and U.S. industry.
RF "I work for Helen Bentley. Her views are pretty well-known in this
area. If I didn't think in similar fashion with her, I wouldn't be working for her. If anything, I am the antithesis of what they are alleging."
Mrs. Bentley could not be reached yesterday for comment.
But the pro-Clinton unions insisted Mr. Denysyk leave his post.
"In today's tough times," said Ernie Greco, president of the Baltimore AFL-CIO, "I cannot understand how the Bush/Quayle campaign could employ someone who is on the payroll of Japanese companies." Mr. Denysyk's association with the Bush campaign "shows just how cynical and out of touch the Bush/Quayle administration really is."
Jon Spalter, spokesman for the Clinton campaign, attended yesterday's news conference at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall but declined to comment. He said the campaign stands with union leaders' statements.
Mr. Greco said at the news conference that his information on Mr. Denysyk was provided by the Clinton campaign. Mr. Denysyk's status as registered agent for Mazak is a matter of public record, but Mr. Spalter declined to say how that came to the campaign's attention.