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EDITORIAL: A fox for the henhouse

The Republicans must block a radical NLRB appointment

- - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The unions are trying to put another fox in the henhouse. President Obama, always eager to oblige his friends, has nominated Richard Griffin, a radical left-wing lawyer, to serve as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.

Mr. Griffin was one of three board members who got an unconstitutional recess appointment last year. Two appellate courts concluded that the president violated the constitutional requirement to obtain the Senate's consent on a nominee while Congress is in session. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's threat to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate has diminished Republican resolve — if "Republican resolve" is not an oxymoron — to hold the line against far-left radical nominees. Mr. Griffin is not on the list of nominations that Republicans agreed to move forward, but Mr. Reid wants to speed the nomination along, anyway, confident that he can get it.

Mr. Griffin deserves no such consideration. As with all of the president's appointments to the board, Mr. Griffin has a long history as an enabler for union bosses. He was even named in a racketeering lawsuit.

Ten members of the Los Angeles-based International Union of Operating Engineers Local 501 accuse Mr. Griffin of misconduct as the union's top lawyer. James McLaughlin, business manager of the 501 local, uncovered evidence that funds were being pilfered from the union's apprenticeship fund and spent on non-union priorities such as breast implants for the girlfriend of one of the union managers.

The union leaned on Mr. McLaughlin to drop the investigation, but he refused. He was ordered to resign, and he refused again. Mr. McLaughlin said Mr. Griffin began threatening him to get him to cover up the misappropriation of funds.

Unfortunately for union members, whose money was entrusted to the bosses, many senators are sympathetic with Hillary Clinton worldview: "What difference, at this point, does it make?" Harry Reid is pleased to grease the Griffin nomination through the Senate machinery process before the public learns the truth of what happened with Local 501.

The irony is that a reasonably moderate Democratic alternative, Lafe Solomon, the acting general counsel, was available for permanent appointment, but a certain Republican senator, indulging personal pique, said no, "anybody but Solomon." Unless the Republicans in the Senate summon skill and courage, that's exactly who the Republicans will get. Mr. Griffin will be free to faithfully push the radical agenda.