By Keith Laing - 08/12/11 06:57 PM EDT
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Friday described the National Labor Relations Board as a “rogue agency” for its response to subpoenas he issued for documents related to the panel’s legal complaint against airplane manufacturer Boeing.
The NLRB has yet to provide any documents to Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The board’s general counsel said Friday in a letter to Issa that the NLRB was concerned about releasing any documents prematurely.
That provoked a harsh response from Issa, who said the NLRB’s hesitation put into question “the integrity of NLRB and its leadership.”
“The National Labor Relations Board and Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon have thus far failed to comply with a lawful subpoena,” Issa said in a statement released Friday. “This refusal by NLRB to abide by the law further heightens concerns that this is a rogue agency acting improperly.”
In his letter, Solomon said the NLRB continues to be “gravely concerned about the adverse effect any premature release of certain documents subject to the subpoena would have on the rights of the parties to this case to have a fair trial.”
Solomon also said the subpoenas were unnecessary because the agency has cooperated with Issa’s investigation.
“To date, this office has provided the committee with more than 1,500 pages of documents that should provide sufficient information to allow the committee to assess the legal merit of the Boeing complaint,” Solomon wrote to Issa. “This office has repeatedly pledged to provide information in a manner that protects the rights of the parties to the case. In keeping with our commitment, today we are providing the committee with more than 4,300 pages of additional documents now available to all parties.”
Issa said he was performing the duties of his chairmanship by investigating what compelled the panel to launch the case against Boeing, in which the NLRB argues the aircraft manufacturer decided to build a plant in South Carolina to retaliate for labor strikes at its existing facilities in Washington state. Issa has said the case appears to be politically motivated.
“The public has a right to know the truth about why a government agency would choose to take action to benefit organized labor that threatens thousands of non-union jobs in South Carolina while setting a precedent impacting manufacturers across the country,” he said. “It is imperative that Congress get complete facts about NLRB’s decision-making process in this matter. Its continued refusal to fully cooperate will not deter this committee as it moves forward in efforts to determine what occurred and to hold NLRB officials to account.”
Boeing opened the 787 plant at issue in June in Charleston, S.C. But if the NLRB complaint is ultimately successful, the company could be forced to build the planes it intends to build there in Seattle instead.
The case before the administrative law judge in Seattle is expected to last several weeks.