A saddening revelation came from the Associated Press last night. Republican board member Terence Flynn, "improperly revealed information about the agency’s private deliberations to outside parties who had cases pending before the board":
The board’s inspector general said the member, Terence F. Flynn, violated ethics rules by sharing confidential details on the status of pending cases and the likely votes of other members before decisions were released. A report from Inspector General David P. Berry also faulted Mr. Flynn for a “lack of candor” during the investigation.The irony here is that President Obama presumably appointed Flynn in an effort to maintain a sense of neutrality with respect to party affiliation on the NLRB, an agency that Republicans consistently paint as an activist arm of the Democratic party. Flynn's behavior, though, suggests that this kind of enforced fairness is of no use to the board and that its ability to function properly, be it staffed by five, four, three, two or zero Democrats, is of paramount concern. Flynn's indiscretions are outlined further by AP:
President Obama appointed Mr. Flynn and two others to the board in January. The report said Mr. Flynn committed the violations when he was still a staff lawyer at the agency, before he was elevated to one of its five members.
Mr. Flynn told lawyers representing clients before the board about predecisional votes, the early positions of other members, the status of cases and the analysis of a pending rule-making that was planned to streamline union elections, the report said.
In one instance, the report said, Mr. Flynn even helped an outside lawyer conduct research on how to attack a board rule that required businesses to put up posters explaining union rights.