In the wake of the Inspector General’s discovery that National Labor Relations Board member Terence Flynn funneled confidential information to outside sources associated with the Mitt Romney camp, Flynn has resigned from his position on the NLRB effective July 24th, 2012. He has immediately recused himself from all agency business. Multiple offenses were found:
These included a draft of an NLRB decision, dissents before cases have been decided and other information on the NLRB’s internal operations.
According to the NLRB:
Earlier today, Chairman Pearce informed NLRB employees of the resignation and, on behalf of the entire Board, thanked them for their “hard work and commitment to excellence through even the most difficult circumstances.” He intends to issue a statement after communicating with the staff on Tuesday.
From the New York Times:
In one instance, Mr. Berry found that Mr. Flynn had secretly helped Mr. Schaumber [Romney's labor advisor] write an opinion column that denounced an N.L.R.B. decision that favored labor unions. Mr. Berry called that action by Mr. Flynn “an abuse of his discretion.”
The Flynn case has been referred to the Justice Department for investigation and to the Federal Office of Special Counsel, which is looking into possible violations of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from participating in partisan political activity.
The NLRB enforces labor laws and oversees union elections. The five-member board is traditionally made up of three members of the President’s party and two from the opposition party. President Obama was forced to use an executive order to appoint Flynn, who had been council to Republican members of the NLRB since the Bush era, when the GOP refused to confirm various appointments at the end of 2011. The irony of using a recess appointment to fully staff the board with a member of the opposition party, only to have that appointment undermine the agency itself, is not lost on labor leaders. Organizations including the AFL-CIO and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee called for Flynn’s resignation the minute the news broke in March:
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), ranking member on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, had also called on Flynn to resign.
Harkin’s panel opened up a probe and requested documents from Flynn in response to the IG’s findings. Miller also urged Justice to investigate while Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been pushing his Republican counterpart, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the committee chairman, to look into the matter.
Cummings has also said that Flynn’s actions may have violated the Hatch Act — which restricts government employees’ political activity — and that the IG had referred the matter to the Office of Special Counsel.
Some comic relief was provided by Flynn’s resignation letter, not-so-randomly delivered on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, which makes no mention of his transgressions as cause for his departure:
“After eight years of government service, I have determined that it is time to move on to other opportunities.”
Allow us to LOL. Let’s hope those “opportunities” require seasoned skills is conniving and disinformation.