Richard Griffin: An Embarrassment of a Nominee

Fred Wszolek

10/21/2013 3:30:00 PM - Fred Wszolek

It has recently been reported that Richard Griffin, the former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member who has been nominated to general counsel of the federal agency, will receive a vote very soon in the U.S. Senate. The effort to advance Griffin’s nomination is being spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid has been one of the top beneficiaries of union money – receiving $321,700 during his re-election campaign in 2010, ranking first in Senate labor money that cycle.

According to news reports, Reid has scheduled a procedural vote the week of October 28th. The rush to vote on Griffin comes after the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) didn’t even conduct a hearing on his nomination to become NLRB general counsel instead deciding on conducting a mark-up and voting him out of committee. Once again, it is not at all surprising considering the committee chairman is Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a chief advocate for the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act or card check and someone who has consistently received a perfect 100 percent rating from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) for the last dozen years.

So why are top union advocates in the Senate pulling out all the stops to jam through Griffin? The answer is obvious once one looks at the record. Griffin is such a deeply flawed nominee that neither the Obama Administration nor Senators doing their bidding can allow the American people any real time to scrutinize his background.

Let’s start with Griffin having been named a defendant in an embezzlement and racketeering civil lawsuit.

The Washington Free Beacon wrote, “According to the lawsuit filed by 10 members of Los Angeles-based IUOE Local 501, which represents workers in Southern California and Southern Nevada, Griffin participated in a conspiracy to manipulate the operation of Local 501 ‘through a pattern of racketeering activity.’ Griffin was served with the complaint and a court summons relating to the lawsuit at his Washington, D.C., home on Dec. 4, according to documents filed in court.”

And The Wall Street Journal reported, “Mr. Griffin is named in a federal complaint filed in October by 10 members of IUOE Local 501, out of Los Angeles, which describes a ‘scheme to defraud [the local] out of revenue, cost savings and membership,’ by means of kickbacks, bribery, violent threats and extortion. The suit names dozens of IUOE officials as defendants, and Mr. Griffin is highlighted in a section describing an embezzlement and its subsequent hush-up.”

If that wasn’t enough to give Senators pause, it doesn’t end there with President Obama’s nominee. Griffin served as general counsel to the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). According to Fox News, “[t]he rap sheet for members of the International Union of Operating Engineers reads like something out of Goodfellas. Embezzlement. Wire fraud. Bribery. That’s just scratching the surface of crimes committed by the IUOE ranks.”

This leaves us with one more noteworthy fact which is Griffin was a member of the NLRB during the time period when it ignored the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and its finding that the recess appointments by the President were unconstitutional.

Griffin has been nominated for an office which according to the NLRB web site is “independent from the Board and is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of unfair labor practice cases and for the general supervision of the NLRB field offices in the processing of cases.” So, to put this all in context, Griffin does not appear to respect the law, does not appear to respect the branch of government that interprets the law and has been nominated to a post that is responsible for “prosecution of unfair labor practice cases”?

Richard Griffin is exactly the kind of person who should have no place in the American people’s government, yet the White House and its allies in the Senate are owned by Big Labor and will stop at nothing to get their man into the NLRB in order to enact their agenda, which is good for union bosses and bad for employees and employers.