Here's the deal: The Obama administration has been trying to have it both ways, enabling an obscure but powerful agency to slash away at business while simultaneously claiming to have no control of the situation. Stop me if this sounds familiar, but the White House essentially wants to help its political allies yet avoid being held accountable by legislators and voters.
As some know all too well, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been hard at work eroding private ballot rights for workers choosing whether to join a union, stripping the ability of employers to speak to their staff about the potential costs of joining a union, and eroding employers' private property rights.
As part of its defense of the Board's ongoing onslaught against the American way, the Obama administration and its allies in the legislature have claimed that the Board is an independent agency. To attempt to influence their behavior, the theory goes, would jeopardize the pristine independence of the august body.
The most recent example comes from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who refused to answer questions about the Board's attack on an employer's ability to set up shot and create jobs where it sees fit. Instead, Carney claimed that he could answer no questions about the NLRB since it is "independent". (See videohere.) Now, lawmakers in our nation's capital have taken notice of the Board's reckless actions. It was not so long ago during one of the bigger budget battles that some Republicans in Congress, concerned over this anti-job, anti-American pattern of behavior by the federal government considered stripping the Board of some of its budget during the Continuing Resolution debates. Alas, they were unable to do so at the time.
But then came this week's news from Beltway publication The Hill that the Obama administration has indeed been calling some key shots at the Board. Indeed, an OMB official rebuked an NLRB officer for not checking before sending out an inflammatory Feb. 18 press release titled, "Top NLRB officials respond to House budget proposal." The administration told the pugnacious Board staffer that a fiery press release promising dire consequences of a reduced budget for the agency "needs to come down from your website. In the future you guys have to clear that stuff with us."
But at least now we know who's calling the shots, so we can better hold the White House accountable for the agency it claims is independent.
Brett McMahon is a spokesman for the Free Enterprise Alliance's Halt The Assault campaign.