AFL-CIO pressures Romney campaign to fire ‘NLRB mole’

The AFL-CIO is keeping up the pressure on Mitt Romney to drop a campaign adviser who has been linked to alleged ethical violations at the National Labor Relations Board.

In an email to 700,000 activists on Friday, the nation’s largest labor federation said the GOP presidential front-runner should remove Peter Schaumber as co-chairman of his labor policy advisory group. 

Schaumber, a former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) chairman, runs a consulting firm that is alleged to have benefited from receiving confidential information about the labor board’s internal workings, according to an NLRB inspector general (IG) report released last week.

The AFL-CIO email, sent with the subject line “Romney’s NLRB mole,” cast the issue as a test of the candidate’s character.

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“The Inspector General of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that improper, unethical disclosures of privileged information to Schaumber were used to benefit his consulting practice and attack the NLRB — the federal agency tasked with protecting workers’ rights,” the email says, signed by Manny Herrmann, the AFL-CIO's online mobilization coordinator. 

“How candidate Romney responds to these findings is a test of his character. Will Romney embrace Washington insiders who trade on confidential and even attorney-client privileged information? Or will he demand they abide by the same ethical standards that the rest of us — the 99% — pride ourselves on and expect others to live up to?”

Neither the Romney campaign nor Schaumber immediately replied to requests for comment. 

The email directs activists to a Web page where they can sign a petition urging Romney to fire Schaumber. 

“It’s unacceptable that he encouraged — and participated in — unethical activities to undermine the NLRB. These activities even may have been illegal,” the Web page says. “If you value ethics in government officials, I demand that you: 1. Renounce these ethics violations. 2. Immediately dismiss Peter Schaumber as an adviser to your campaign.” 

Schaumber was alleged to have received the inside information from Terence Flynn when he served as an agency chief counsel. President Obama recess-appointed Flynn as a member of the NLRB in January. 

Flynn has denied wrongdoing in response to the IG’s report.

Earlier this week, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called on Flynn to resign from the board, and for Romney to remove Schaumber from his campaign. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has also called for Schaumber to be interviewed and give documents to the panel in the wake of the IG’s report. 

On Wednesday, Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and chairman of labor federation Change to Win, called for a congressional investigation in response to the IG’s report. 

“Congress should get to the bottom of this and hold all wrongdoers fully accountable,” Hansen said in a statement.