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Ethically-Challenged NLRB Member Terence Flynn Resigns

Conservatives howled loudly when Terence Flynn was appointed to the NLRB, falsely criticizing recess appointments, but are saying nothing about his ethical lapses, since they might've helped Mitt Romney. National Labor Relations Member Board

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Conservatives howled loudly when Terence Flynn was appointed to the NLRB, falsely criticizing recess appointments, but are saying nothing about his ethical lapses, since they might've helped Mitt Romney.

National Labor Relations Member Board Terence Flynn resigned Saturday under a cloud of ethical trouble, including potentially leaking sensitive information to an adviser to Mitt Romney. Numerous labor organizations and members of Congress, such as Rep. George Miller, called upon Flynn to resign after it came to light that he leaked confidential information to two former board members, including Peter Schaumber, who was advising Romney on labor issues.

The NLRB Inspector General earlier this year issued two reports describing how Flynn funneled confidential information about NLRB activities and deliberations, including attorney-client privileged information, to two former NLRB members who have worked to undermine and discredit the NLRB. One of those former members was Peter Schaumber—who co-chaired the labor policy advisory group for Mitt Romney’s campaign.

The Inspector General found additional instances when Flynn funneled confidential information to Schaumber. These included a draft of an NLRB decision, dissents before cases have been decided and other information on the NLRB’s internal operations.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka previously called for Flynn to be dismissed from the board and for him to face criminal charges. Trumka's statement from before the resignation:

The report of the Inspector General of the National Labor Relations Board into allegations of improper conduct by NLRB member Terence Flynn confirms a pattern of ethical violations that are nothing less than shocking. The report details numerous instances of then-chief counsel Flynn funneling confidential information about the labor board’s activities and deliberations, including attorney-client privileged information, to two former NLRB members who have been actively engaged in a relentless campaign to undermine and discredit the NLRB through legal and rhetorical challenges to the agency’s activities. One of the former NLRB members who received confidential information—former Chairman Peter Schaumber—is co-chair of the labor policy advisory group for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The report makes clear that Schaumber used his inside connections through his former chief counsel Flynn to get internal, confidential information that he then utilized in ongoing public attacks on the actions of the NLRB.

These unethical practices are unprecedented and indefensible. NLRB member Flynn should resign immediately. The Department of Justice should quickly investigate and bring criminal charges if violations are found.

Working people deserve to know that public officials who take an oath to honor the public trust will do so—and that is especially true for officials charged with protecting workers’ rights.

These findings also will be a test for candidate Romney. A key adviser has been found to have used his inside connections in a way that resulted in the violation of ethics rules. Allowing Schaumber to remain as an adviser will speak volumes about candidate Romney and the value he places on ethics in government officials. He should renounce these violations and dismiss Schaumber.

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