Issa: ‘NLRB is acting as a rogue agency’

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa snapped at National Labor Relations Board general counsel Lafe Solomon for openly defying his congressional subpoena.

Not complying with congressional subpoena is technically an illegal act, and Solomon could be charged with contempt of Congress if Issa, a leading Republican, chooses to proceed down that path.

“Your continued personal obstruction, lack of compliance with a validly issued congressional subpoena and false statements to the committee are unacceptable,” Issa said in a Monday letter to Solomon. “The NLRB is acting as a rogue agency that believes it does not have to fully answer to Congress.”

Issa’s subpoenas relate to the NLRB’s ongoing case against the Boeing Company. The NLRB has echoed allegations by the International Association of Machinists union that Boeing committed an “unfair labor practice” by opening a new production plant in South Carolina instead of in Washington State, where the company’s other production lines are located. Since the allegations were made, Boeing has added more jobs in both Washington and South Carolina, but the Machinists union and the NLRB think the company’s chosen location for the new line was a “retaliation” against the union because South Carolina is a right to work state.

On the heels of Issa’s letter, the center-right Workforce Fairness Institute’s Fred Wszolek wrote to NLRB Inspector General David Berry on Tuesday asking him to investigate other suspicious pro-union bias inside the agency.

“We are concerned with the recent batch of emails authored by various employees of the NLRB,” Wszolek wrote to Berry. “These emails, released by the agency to Judicial Watch pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, reflect decidedly union partisanship by NLRB staff employees charged with assisting the agency in interpreting and enforcing the National Labor Relations Act.”

According to Wszolek, the emails include a supposedly impartial NLRB official praising a Machinist union press release as “hooray for the red, white and blue.” The emails apparently show another NLRB official quoting directly from the union press releases while “other agency staff chime in their approval.”

NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said the agency is trying to accommodate the Oversight Committee’s requests, and that confusion is to blame for the subpoena mishaps.

“The NLRB has been cooperating and continues to cooperate with the committee in producing documents related to the Boeing investigation,” Cleeland told The Daily Caller. “At the same time, it has been complying with various Freedom of Information Act requests, including a request for Boeing documents from Judicial Watch. Because the documents were being produced on separate tracks, the committee had not yet received some materials at the time they were provided to Judicial Watch. It is the [NLRB]’s intent to provide those materials as part of its next, and fourth, delivery of documents later this week.”

“An NLRB representative spoke with committee staff this morning,” she continued, “to explain the confusion and to ensure that, going forward, the committee will receive all relevant documents at the same time or earlier than any FOIA requesters.”*

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*This story has been updated.