Congress Subpoenas Trump’s NLRB For Conflict Of Interest Investigation Of Board Members

Congressional members are looking into potential conflicts of interests among Trump-appointed members of the NLRB.

The Washington Post reports:

“The House Committee on Education and Labor filed a subpoena against the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday for records about potential conflicts of interest among board members, which the committee has been seeking.

The legal request comes after more than a year of attempts by the committee to acquire ethics related documentation from the NLRB — the federal body charged with upholding workers’ rights to organize and raise safety concerns — on issues that involve an NLRB board member’s former law firm.

Committee chairman Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) said that the board’s ongoing refusal to provide the documents suggests that the board is covering up malfeasance, according to a letter from Scott to the panel to NLRB Chairman John Ring.

‘[T]he continued refusal to give the Committee certain documents indicate that the NLRB has something to hide regarding decisions that are likely tainted by a defective process, such as the McDonald’s case and the joint employer rulemaking,’ Scott wrote in the letter, sent earlier this month. ‘The Committee is left to conclude that the NLRB’s sole motivation for refusing to produce requested documents is to cover up misconduct.’

The NLRB says that though it has not given the documentation over, it has offered the committee the ability to review some of the documents in private.

‘The Committee knows it is not entitled to the documents it is demanding,’ Ring said in a statement. ‘This is a made-up controversy solely for political theater.’

A spokesman for the NLRB called the subpoena “unprecedented,” in a statement, adding the ‘disclosure of these pre-decisional documents would discourage agency employees from providing candid advice and undermine the internal deliberations of the Board.’

The Committee disagrees, saying that it is entitled to the information that is being shielded from it.

The National Labor Relations Board is made up of four members currently, three Republicans and one Democrat, all Trump appointees. The panel has pivoted and issued far more employer-friendly rulings since the Obama administration. The White House has not appointed anyone to the fifth seat, which would typically be taken up by a Democrat.

The documentation requested by the committee involves the issue of joint employer classification, which is an issue when there is more than one employer involved, such as when one of the employers is a franchise. Joint employer labor issues could have implications for millions of workers at large corporations like McDonald’s.

The NLRB, under President Barack Obama, focused on making it easier for workers to hold joint-employers accountable for their working conditions — such as workers who work for McDonald’s franchisees seeking redress from the McDonald’s Corp. But the Trump administration has worked to narrow these protections.”

For the rest of the story, visit The Washington Post here.

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