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Labor board head under fire over corruption lawsuit

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A pro-business group called for the resignation Tuesday of National Labor Relations Board member Richard Griffin, a recess appointee by President Obama who has been named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit involving allegations of union corruption.

“The time has come for Richard Griffin to put aside his commitment to rewarding his fellow Big Labor bosses to the detriment of American employees and employers, and resign his post as a member of the National Labor Relations Board,” said Fred Wszolek, spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute, a group affiliated with Republican operatives. “The recent complaint that names him as a defendant and details his role in an embezzlement scheme clearly makes him unsuited to serve as an unbiased arbiter deciding matters that significantly impact American workers and small businesses.”

Mr. Griffin, one of three Democratic NLRB recess appointments that Mr. Obama made in January 2012, previously worked as general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers. A federal racketeering lawsuit accuses Mr. Griffin of complicity in covering up an embezzlement scheme.

The lawsuit, which names dozens of union officials as defendants, details an alleged scheme to defraud a union local out of money through kickbacks and extortion. The complaint was filed by 10 members of the union’s Local 501 in Los Angeles.

A spokesman for the NLRB has declined to comment, but Mr. Griffin’s personal attorney has called the allegations “frivolous” and said Mr. Griffin played no role in the activities described in the complaint.

The Workforce Fairness Institute said the lawsuit is another blow to the integrity of the NLRB, which has three Democratic appointees and two vacant seats.

“It is now abundantly clear that President Obama’s recess appointment of Griffin, which was a violation of the Constitution as the Senate was in session, placed a person unfit for that responsibility on the board,” Mr. Wszolek said. “The simple truth is Griffin could not survive the vetting process required in a nomination hearing as he is embroiled in controversy for a failure to demonstrate the integrity necessary to serve on a federal agency at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. Therefore, it is time for Griffin to step aside.”

During the presidential campaign in 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney accused Mr. Obama of appointing organized labor movement “stooges” to the NLRB to secure pro-union rulings from the board.

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About the Author
Dave Boyer

Dave Boyer

Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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