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NLRB Acting Like It Has Something to Hide

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While the NLRB IG office refuses to make available under FOIA all responsive documents, Mr. Berry seemed comfortable leaking information to Hill staffers.

Regarding your editorial “Funny Business at the Labor Board” (May 17): The National Labor Relations Board Inspector General Office has responded to the Competitive Enterprise Institute and National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s Freedom of Information Act requests, which were submitted independently and separately. Both sought communications between the NLRB IG office and members of Congress or their staff in regard to the ethics investigation into NLRB board member William Emanuel’s participation in the Hy-Brand case that overruled the Obama NLRB’s controversial “joint employer” standard.

The NLRB provided only a portion of the 242 pages of records responsive to the CEI’s request, and even fewer records responsive to the foundation’s request. This limited disclosure shows that NLRB IG David Berry provided Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee staff with information about the pending investigation via email, telephone and at least one Skype conference with Democratic staff, while congressional staffers pinged Mr. Berry for the timing of the investigation’s release. One email message also shows that Mr. Berry was concerned “that the ethics officers were reading the [ethics] pledge too narrowly,” i.e., that they didn’t agree with Mr. Berry, and that Mr. Emanuel needed to recuse himself in the Hy-Brand case.

So, while the NLRB IG office refuses to make available under FOIA all responsive documents, Mr. Berry seemed comfortable leaking information to Hill staffers. Is it possible that some of the documents he’s withheld from public disclosure contain information that shows Mr. Berry pressuring the NLRB ethics officer to change her legal opinion?

The aptly headlined Journal editorial is right that there is certainly some funny business going on at the NLRB. That’s why it is time for Congress to exercise its oversight authority and determine whether Mr. Berry’s investigation was conducted above board.

Raymond J. LaJeunesse Jr.

National Right to Work

Legal Defense Foundation

Trey Kovacs

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington

 
Originally published in the Wall Street Journal.