By Kevin Bogardus - 03/26/12 04:28 PM EDT
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is calling on a Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to resign following accusations he violated ethics rules.
A report from the NLRB’s inspector general (IG) released on Friday accused Terence Flynn of sharing confidential information with former NLRB members and other lawyers outside the agency. The IG cited emails by Flynn — sent when he was serving as an NLRB chief counsel — that included details on the internal workings of the board that were not meant to be public.
Trumka, the head of the nation’s largest labor federation, said Flynn should step down, and urged an investigation by the Justice Department.
“Even for an agency that has at times been highly politicized, 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,” Trumka said in a statement.
Flynn was communicating with several people outside of the agency, including Peter Schaumber, a former Republican member of the labor board, according to the IG report. Schaumber is co-chairman of the labor policy advisory group for Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
In a statement, Flynn said he would continue to work to carry out the NLRB's mission. He also said he provided "a detailed response" to the IG that was not included in the report released to the public.
"I am troubled by the politicization of this internal matter, in which I have committed no wrongdoing, and feel that this manufactured controversy is emblematic of the mean-spirited political theatrics that currently paralyze Washington and deter individuals from public service," Flynn said.
Trumka said the allegations against Schaumber are a test for Romney’s campaign.
“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,” Trumka said. “He should renounce these violations and dismiss Schaumber.”
Flynn wasn’t immediately available to comment for this piece, according to Nancy Cleeland, a NLRB spokeswoman.
Schaumber and a spokeswoman for Romney’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to messages requesting comment.
— This story was updated at 1:09 p.m. with a response from Flynn.