Thursday, April 12, 2012
It’s been almost three weeks since the release of a National Labor Relations Board Inspector General report finding that Republican NLRB member Terence Flynn violated ethics rules. Since then, members of Congress from both parties have said the Justice Department should review the allegations. Flynn has bulked up his defense team with a former inspector general of his own — Glenn Fine, who investigated the Bush DOJ. But there’s been no comment on the scandal from the White House, which promoted Flynn, or from the Romney campaign, whose advisor Peter Schaumber allegedly received secret info from him.
“This is the cronyism and bias that you absolutely don’t want in a government agency,” says Jeffrey Hirsch, a former NLRB attorney who now teaches law at the University of North Carolina. “If [Flynn] found out one of his board staff was giving info to, say, a Democratic former board member,” says Hirsch, “I can’t imagine he wouldn’t fire the person on the spot.” (Spokespersons for the White House and NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce both declined Salon’s request for comment. The Romney campaign did not respond to multiple requests.)
[T]he Labor page on Romney’s website still prominently features an essay by Schaumber, bashing “misguided administrative actions by partisans at the NLRB” and promising that Romney will appoint NLRB members who pursue “flexibility” and “cooperative” labor relations. Hirsch says that as former NLRB members, Schaumber and Kirsanow “knew they shouldn’t have taken that stuff, and they clearly kept accepting it.” The situation is “incredibly ironic,” says Hirsch, “given all the criticism that the board has taken by Republicans” for supposed bias. “There’s no question that this was inappropriate. And so the silence is deafening.”