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In The Irishman, during the testimonial dinner for Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci's charater, Russell Bufalino tells Sheeran that the higher ups have decided that Al Pacino's Jimmy Hoffa can't run the Teamsters anymore.

Bufalino says something to the effect of "if they can kill a president, they can kill the president of a union."

Who are the higher ups that Bufalino mentions?

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The “Higher Ups” refers to the commission, which is made up of heads of various crime families forming a governing body for organized crime, Hence making it organized. The commission voted on various go/no-go decisions having impacts on society and in multiple occasion effects in politics as seen in the movie. We are also shown through out the movie that these decisions could have been influenced/ “green lit” by three letter agencies.

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