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Romney Adviser Caught Up In Ethics Investigation, Unions Call For Dismissal

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WASHINGTON -- In the wake of an inspector general investigation at the federal labor board, labor unions are calling on the Mitt Romney campaign to dismiss an adviser to the GOP presidential hopeful.

In a report made public Friday, investigators found that National Labor Relations Board member Terence Flynn had inappropriately shared sensitive agency information with former board members, including Peter Schaumber, a former board chairman and advisor to Romney on labor issues.

The AFL-CIO on Monday called for the dismissal of Schaumber from the Romney camp, as well as a Justice Department investigation into Flynn's actions.

"These findings also will be a test for candidate Romney," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. "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."

The Romney campaign did not respond to requests for comment on Monday, and a call to Schaumber went unanswered.

The Romney camp has been highly critical of the currently left-leaning NLRB, accusing the agency of carrying out job-killing policies, particularly the issuing of a controversial complaint against the Boeing Company that temporarily put a South Carolina manufacturing plant on hold. The Romney campaign brought Schaumber, a Republican, on board in September, indicating it would carry a hard line when it came to unions and labor policy.

According to the inspector general report released by House Democrats, Flynn allegedly passed "the most confidential of Agency information" -- including preliminary votes and internal deliberations -- to outside lawyers when he was working as agency counsel last year. Flynn was recess appointed to the board by President Obama in January.

"Given Mr. Flynn's position as a chief counsel and his years of service, he knew, or should have known, that he had a duty to maintain the confidence of the information that he received in the performance of his official duties," the report said.

Schaumber penned editorials for the National Review last year that were critical of the labor board under Democrat Wilma Liebman. Schaumber argued the board was "left-wing" and overly friendly to labor unions. On the official Romney campaign page, Schaumber wrote that "radical changes in decades-old law and procedure are taking place under the current Democratic political leadership at the NLRB .... [T]he current Board consistently demonstrates that it is not neutral on the question of unionization."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney himself has claimed that Obama "stacked" the labor board with "union stooges," although his appointees included Flynn, who's considered a pro-business conservative voice on the board.

In a statement issued Monday, Flynn said he cooperated with the inspector general's investigation and plans to continue working on the board.

"I am troubled by the politicization of this internal matter, in which I have committed no wrongdoing," Flynn said, "and feel that this manufactured controversy is emblematic of the mean-spirited political theatrics that currently paralyze Washington and deter individuals from public service."

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