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Working In These Times

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012, 12:02 pm

Rep. Miller: GOP Squashing NLRB Inspector General Report

BY Mike Elk

U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill January 27, 2009 in Washington, DC.   (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, the inspector general of the National Labor Relations Board released a report saying that Republican NLRB member Brian Hayes had been discussing employment opportunities with an employer-side labor-relations law firm.

At the same time, Hayes was contemplating resigning from the federal agency, which enforces federal labor law and oversees union elections, in order to deny the NLRB the quorum necessary to issue a union-friendly rule. A lawyer from the anti-union law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which opposed the rule, wrote to Hayes, “If you ever decide to resign, we’d like to talk to you.” 

Now, Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.), a member on the House Education and Workforce Committee, says that House Republicans are attempting to block the release of parts of a report into the follow-up investigation into the allegations of wrongdoing by Hayes.

“I learned today that the majority of our Committee reportedly asked the [NLRB] Inspector General to impose restrictions on the release of an investigative report regarding an individual or individuals at the NLRB,” Miller wrote in a letter to Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), the chairman of the committee. “It is my understanding that the report you may be seeking to restrict involves a follow-on Inspector General investigation into matters related to a previously released investigative report. That previous report addressed, among other things, questions of enticements made to NLRB Member Hayes to resign last year.”

Congressional Republicans are denying charges that they are seeking to block key portions of the NLRB report. "At no time did my staff attempt to influence, restrict, or in any way suppress the release of the report," responded Kline. "I am deeply disappointed you elected not to discuss your concerns with me or my staff prior to sending this imprudent letter."

"It is my understanding that there is no pending Inspector General's investigation of member Hayes," Hayes’ lawyer, Robert Kelner, told the Huffington Post. "And that has been confirmed to me by the Inspector General's office."

But Education and Workforce Committee Democratic Spokesman Aaron Albright says Miller learned from the NLRB Inspector General that House Republicans have sought to block portions of the report. It's unclear if that report focuses on Hayes' conduct or the conduct of other anti-union Republicans.

Miller has referred the matter for investigation to the Department of Justice. The NLRB Inspector General’s office did not respond to request for comment.

Mike Elk is an In These Times Staff Writer and a regular contributor to the labor blog Working In These Times. He can be reached at mike@inthesetimes.com.

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