Miller: Issa Subpoena of NLRB Poses Threat to Private Parties’ Constitutional Rights, Integrity of Ongoing Trial

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, issued the following statement after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a broad subpoena to the National Labor Relation Board’s Acting General Counsel demanding all documents referring or related to The Boeing Company or the International Association of Machinists, documents that could include the prosecution’s internal trial strategy communications and even the judge’s deliberative documents in an ongoing Boeing trial.

“The subpoena issued over the weekend by Chairman Issa threatens the integrity of an ongoing trial and the constitutional due process rights of the private parties involved in that trial.  It ignores pleas from members of Congress and legal experts to be mindful of the line between proper oversight of an agency and improper interference with its proceedings.  It is issued in the midst of troubling Republican attacks on the National Labor Relations Board and the workers’ rights that it enforces.

“Coming in the middle of a trial, this subpoena would unfairly force one side – the prosecution – to disclose its internal trial strategy to the other side.  It uses congressional levers to obtain from the prosecution certain documents to which a judge has already ruled the other party is not entitled.  Its broad scope, covering documents held by the Acting General Counsel or the NLRB itself, risks chilling not only the prosecution’s deliberations but the judge’s deliberations about the ongoing case.

“Whatever interest Chairman Issa has in these documents right now in the middle of trial, I hope he will recognize the equally, if not more, significant congressional interest in not undermining the constitutional rights of private parties and in protecting the fundamental integrity of a federal agency’s decision making and law enforcement processes.  And, in the interest of not tarnishing Congress’s legitimate oversight role, I urge him to reconsider the timing and scope of this subpoena.”