A federal government watchdog has discovered more disturbing details in the funneling of confidential information by GOP National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Terence Flynn to groups involved in litigation and lobbying against the labor board.
According to the NLRB’s inspector general, Flynn’s disclosure of deliberative information to a Romney advisor and others was more extensive and more serious than first reported. The inspector general reported that at the request of Peter Kirsanow, a former Republican NLRB member who represents the National Association of Manufacturers in litigation, Flynn misused board resources to aid a pending lawsuit seeking to block the NLRB’s new election rule. The new rule sought to make union representation elections fairer.
The inspector general’s report shows Flynn improperly shared early drafts of board decisions and details of internal deliberations with Peter Schaumber, who at the time served as a senior advisor to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Schaumber then used the information in last year’s frenzied GOP campaign to discredit the NLRB. In one instance, Flynn even secretly helped Schaumber draft an opinion column denouncing a board decision that favored unions.
A previous report in March found other examples where Flynn revealed sensitive internal NLRB information.
The case has been forwarded to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to investigate potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity. It has also been referred to the Justice Department for a separate investigation.
Perhaps equally disturbing, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has refused to investigate these serious accusations. Issa rarely remains silent on a scandal and last year aggressively pursued the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel over its complaint against Boeing for retaliating against union workers,.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has called on Issa to investigate. Both California Rep. George Miller, top Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee have called for Flynn’s resignation.