Last week, the inspector general of the National Labor Relations Board released a report saying that Terence Flynn, a Republican member of the board added by recess appointment in January, had violated ethics rules. Before his appointment to the labor board, Flynn had served as chief counsel to Brian Hayes, then its lone Republican member. In that capacity, he passed on confidential information about cases the NLRB was considering to two former members now working in private practice and representing clients in NLRB cases.
One of the people to whom Flynn passed confidential information was Peter Schaumber, co-chair of Mitt Romney's labor policy advisory group. As a former NLRB member, Schaumber would obviously have known that he was receiving confidential information. Noting that "[t]he report makes clear that Schaumber used his inside connections through his former chief counsel Flynn to get internal, confidential information that he then utilized in ongoing public attacks on the actions of the NLRB," a statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka calls for Flynn's resignation and a Department of Justice investigation, and concludes:
These findings also will be a test for candidate Romney. A key advisor has been found to have used his inside connections in a way that resulted in the violation of ethics rules. Allowing Schaumber to remain as an advisor will speak volumes about candidate Romney and the value he places on ethics in government officials. He should renounce these violations and dismiss Schaumber.Romney has, of course, made attacks on the NLRB a regular feature of his presidential campaign. Violating the confidentiality of a government agency he wants to eliminate may seem like no big deal to him, or even a good thing. But keeping Schaumber would speak volumes about Romney's respect for the rule of law.