NLRB Member Flynn Resigns Following Two IG Ethics Reports
Terence Flynn, one of five members of the National Labor Relations Board, finally called it quits over the Memorial Day weekend. Flynn had been the subject of two recent investigative reports from the agencys inspector general, who accused the board member of ethics violations.
CorpCounsel.com obtained a copy of Flynns resignation letter [PDF] from an NLRB spokesperson. Although Flynns resignation is not effective until July 24, in his letter he immediately recused himself from all agency business. He also asked that President Obama withdraw his formal nomination to the NLRB.
NLRB inspector general David Berry issued his first report [PDF] regarding Flynn in March. The IG found that while Flynn served as chief counsel to board member Brian Hayes, he leaked information to former NLRB members Peter Schaumber and Peter Kirsanow, both of whom were in private practice at the time.
Flynn began working for the board in 2003 as chief counsel to Schaumber, whose second term expired in August 2010. Berry expanded the scope of his second probe to include Flynns e-mail messages spanning from Schaumbers departure until the time at which Flynn was told he was the subject of an investigation.
Flynns resignation follows an April 30 report from Berry [PDF], in which he found that Flynn leaked additional information to Schaumber. Berry wrote:
Flynn released deliberative nonpublic information that included, among other things, a draft of a board majority decision and four dissents that had not yet been issued, as well as other deliberative nonpublic information involving the processing of cases and issues by the board.
In an October 1, 2010, e-mail contained in the latest report, Schaumber asked Flynn, then chief counsel to member Brian Hayes, to keep him posted on board decisions he should be reading. But according to Berry, Flynn shared key decisions with Schaumber before they were final.
In the latest report, Berry said that his office determined it was necessary to continue its investigation after Flynn made unspecified statements that caused the IG concern.
Flynn has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, which has not gone over well with Berry. The board members public statement that he has engaged in no wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of the [NLRB], wrote the inspector general.
Schaumber served as a labor adviser to the campaign of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The New York Times reported that the campaign said he stepped down in December, at which time Berrys investigation had already begun.
Although the NLRB does not post investigative reports from its inspector generals office, Democratic Representative George Miller of California made both reports public on the minority partys House Education and Workforce Committee website.
Both Miller and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) urged Flynn to resign earlier this month, after the release of the inspector generals supplemental report. Your continued presence at the board rattles [the public's] faith and potentially infringes upon the due process rights of those with business before the board, wrote Miller in a May 2 letter to Flynn. For the sake of the board as an institution, you should resign.
Flynns attorney, Barry Coburn of Coburn & Greenbaum, declined to comment on the board members decision to ultimately step down.
In a joint statement, the boards four remaining memberschairman Mark Gaston Pearce, Richard Griffin, Sharon Block, and Hayessaid:
Resolution of this matter came as a result of the united efforts of the four board members present today, along with our offices and that of the solicitor, who worked tirelessly to reach a resolution acceptable to all concerned and, most importantly, one that would protect this vital institution.
With Flynns departure, Hayes is the sole Republican on the board.
See also: NLRB Member Terence Flynn Accused of Ethics Breach, DOJ to Review, CorpCounsel, March 2012.