NLRB Inspector General Refers Leaks of Inside Info to Romney Adviser for Further Investigation; Uncovers More Serious Disclosures of Confidential Information to Schaumber
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa reiterating his request for documents and transcribed interviews of two former members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) based on new information obtained by the agency’s Inspector General. The Inspector General identified additional and more serious improper disclosures of confidential inside information to Peter Schaumber, one of the former NLRB Members and current senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign on labor issues.
“If true,” Cummings wrote, “the allegations set forth by the Inspector General are troubling and raise significant concerns about the extent to which Mr. Schaumber and others may have benefited from these improper, and potentially illegal, activities.”
The Inspector General expanded his investigation after issuing a March 19 report, which found that Schaumber and fellow former NLRB Member Peter Kirsanow obtained access to “deliberative, pre-decisional information” from Terence Flynn, a current Board member and former Chief Counsel to Schaumber. The Inspector General intends to issue a supplemental report on the new findings on improper disclosures this week.
Cummings’s letter reveals that the Inspector General has now referred the improper disclosures described in his report to the Office of Special Counsel for potential Hatch Act violations due to Schaumber’s role on Romney’s campaign. The Inspector General’s referral letter explains that Flynn “provided non-public deliberative information and other assistance to Peter Schaumber, a co-chair of the Labor Policy Advisory Group for the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign.”
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election and bans them from engaging in political activities to help a particular political party or candidate for office when on duty.
“It remains unclear to what extent Mr. Schaumber and Mr. Kirsanow may have taken advantage of this confidential inside information to benefit their own financial interests, the pecuniary interests of their clients, or the political interests of Mr. Romney’s campaign,” wrote Cummings.
Cummings contrasted Issa’s failure to act on the Inspector General’s report in this case to his aggressive approach to a report issued by the Inspector General of the General Services Administration regarding a 2010 conference in Las Vegas, after which he sent document requests, issued two subpoenas, and held a Committee hearing.
“In contrast, you have been silent on the NLRB Inspector General’s report, and you have taken no action whatsoever in response to my request,” Cummings wrote. “You have called no hearings, conducted no interviews, and sent no document requests. Our Committee should conduct vigorous oversight of alleged abuses on an even-handed basis, regardless of whether those implicated are Republicans or Democrats.”
Cummings originally requested transcribed interviews of the two former NLRB members on March 28, 2012. He requested that the Committee schedule transcribed interviews of Schaumber and Kirsanow for the week of April 30, 2012, and send document requests to both individuals.