Cummings: New Documents Reveal Boeing’s Attempt to Use Political Influence to Prevent NLRB Complaint
Washington, DC – Today, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings sent a letter to Chairman Issa raising serious concerns with new documents that suggest that Boeing inappropriately sought to use its political influence in Congress to prevent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from filing its enforcement action against Boeing for discriminating against its workers in Washington State.
“No corporation should be able to discriminate against American workers and then avoid accountability for its actions by using its political influence in Congress to seek to undermine the rule of law,” Cummings wrote. “These new documents raise serious concerns that this may be exactly what happened in this case. The ongoing legal proceeding should be allowed to take its full course without any further interference from Members of Congress.”
The documents, obtained by the Committee through a unilateral subpoena issued by Issa on August 5, 2011, document a series of phone calls in which Boeing attorneys threatened to “go to the Hill” to prevent the NLRB’s issuance and prosecution of the complaint. Senator Lindsey Graham also warned NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon that if “a complaint was filed, it will be ‘nasty’, ‘very, very nasty,’” and that he would go “full guns a-blazing.”
In the letter, Cummings documented the Committee’s actions to date that have unfairly advantaged Boeing, including insisting that Solomon testify publically during ongoing litigation and threatening NLRB attorneys.
On June 16, 2011, Cummings and Rep. George Miller, the Ranking Member of the Education and Workforce Committee, called on Issa to delay this demand, citing constitutional and ethical concerns. Issa also requested that Solomon turn over sensitive internal documents relating to the ongoing case.
On July 26, 2011, all Democratic Members of the Oversight and Government Committee sent a letter to Issa requesting a full Committee debate and vote before issuing a subpoena to the NLRB.
Issa ignored the request and issued a subpoena on his own, refusing to give the full Committee an opportunity to debate the merits of the subpoena and exercise its will.
Cummings subsequently sent a letter to Issa requesting that he withdraw his unilateral subpoena, stating, “This case is particularly troubling given that the disclosure of privileged documents could unduly influence the ongoing legal proceeding between the NLRB and Boeing. The Chairman has an obligation to use his authority to issue subpoenas responsibly and not to exercise it in an inappropriate manner to assist a private party, even one as powerful as the Boeing Corporation.”
These actions also underscored Cummings’s concerns that the Committee’s investigation fails to serve any “valid legislative purpose” as required by law.