House’s Cummings Seeks Interviews With Ex-NLRB Members in Probe

Representative Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked chairman Darrell Issa to interview two former National Labor Relations Board members who allegedly obtained nonpublic information from Terence Flynn before he was appointed to the board.

Cummings, of Maryland, made the request to Issa, a California Republican, in a letter dated today released in an e-mail from his office.

A memorandum last week by David P. Berry, the NLRB’s Inspector General, accused Flynn of ethical breaches. Flynn, while an NLRB lawyer last year, passed information on board deliberations to Republican Peter Schaumber, his boss until August 2010 and now a labor adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to the report. Flynn also shared information with Peter Kirsanow, another former member working for the National Association of Manufacturers.

Flynn, one of three appointments Obama made while the Senate was in recess in January, on March 26 said he had done nothing improper. He rejected a call from the AFL-CIO that he quit.

“Given our committee’s oversight of NLRB, I request that the committee conduct transcribed interviews of former board members Peter Schaumber and Peter Kirsanow to determine to what the extent they may have used the information they obtained for their private benefit or to advance their clients’ business interests,” Cummings said in the letter.

Cummings also urged Issa to ask the former board members for all documents showing their communications with Flynn since leaving the agency.

Republicans and groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have criticized the board for actions they said favor unions, such as a suit filed against aerospace giant Boeing Co. last April for opening a plant in South Carolina, where it’s illegal to require employees to join a union. Obama’s decision to bypass Senate confirmation on Jan. 4 and appoint Flynn, a Republican, and two Democrats, to keep the board functioning, has prompted legal challenges.

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