WASHINGTON -- Members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Tuesday addressed the recent resignation of their former colleague Terence Flynn, who stepped down over the weekend after investigators found he'd improperly shared agency information with a former adviser to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
In a joint statement, four members of the five-person labor board said the drama surrounding Flynn, a conservative among a liberal majority, would not "tarnish" the image of the NLRB, the federal agency tasked with enforcing labor law for businesses and their workers.
"Recent events have created a distraction from [our] mission," board members Mark Gaston Pearce, Brian Hayes, Richard Griffin and Sharon Block said. "Such distractions shall not tarnish this agency’s image -- an image created from the good and honest work of its employees."
Pressure had been mounting on Flynn to resign for weeks, ever since an NLRB inspector general report documenting Flynn's leaks became public. According to investigators, Flynn had shared "sensitive" agency information -- including board member's deliberations on pending cases -- with former board members while he was serving as agency counsel last year, prior to his recess appointment to the board.
Much of the report focused on Flynn's communications with Peter Schaumber, a former NLRB chair and adviser to Romney on labor issues. According to the Romney campaign, Schaumber stepped down from his advisory role in December, right around the time Flynn was told that he was being investigated. Flynn, through a lawyer, has denied any wrongdoing.
In their statement, board members said the investigation "caused us to reflect on the extremely high value we as Board Members place on the deliberations we have with each other and, as importantly, the free and open exchange we have with you in considering cases. Hopefully, we can all come away from this difficult experience and the threat it posed to our deliberative process with a greater appreciation for that process."
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