Labor board member accused of leaks resigns

AP News

5/27/2012 6:28:45 PM - AP News

A member of the National Labor Relations Board accused of leaking inside information has resigned, the agency announced Sunday.

Terence Flynn had been under pressure to leave since March, when the board's inspector general found that Flynn committed ethics violations by improperly revealing confidential details on the status of pending cases.

Flynn, a Republican, shared the information with two former board members, including a one-time labor adviser to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign. That adviser, Peter Schaumber, left the Romney campaign in December, around the time the investigation into Flynn began.

Flynn submitted a letter to President Barack Obama and to the board's chairman, Mark Pearce, late Saturday saying he would resign effective July 24, but would recuse himself from all agency business until he departs.

While Flynn did not mention the allegations against him, he had previously denied any wrongdoing. Flynn's personal lawyer had claimed any discussions about board proceedings were not illegal.

Flynn is one of five members of the board, which oversees union elections and enforces labor laws. It has been the focus of intense partisan wrangling, with Republicans and business groups complaining that it leans too heavily in favor of labor unions.

Obama bypassed the Senate to appoint Flynn and two Democratic nominees to the board in January. Republicans had filibustered the nominations for months.

In two separate reports, the board's inspector general said Flynn improperly leaked information about the status of cases, how other board members planned to vote, and the board's internal strategy for handling litigation against it.

In one instance, the inspector general found that Flynn secretly helped Schaumber draft an opinion column denouncing a board decision that favored unions.

The alleged ethical violations occurred in 2010 and 2011, when Flynn was a staff lawyer for the board.

The case has already been referred to the Justice Department for a separate investigation. It also has been forwarded to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to investigate potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity.

Congressional Democrats and union leaders had been calling on Flynn to resign, saying his disclosures compromised the agency's integrity.