‘Friends Like These’

ACORN, unions ‘impressed’ with Obama’s labor board, documents show


The acting counsel for President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) wanted to let his colleagues know how impressed unions and the founder of ACORN were with the board’s work, according to emails obtained by Cause of Action, a nonprofit group that advocates for improved government transparency and economic freedom.

The NLRB filed a complaint against Boeing in April 2011 for the company’s decision to relocate an assembly plant to South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

The NLRB said Boeing was retaliating against union workers at its Washington facility.

“What’s clear is that Lafe Solomon, just seven days after filing his complaint, was forwarding along emails from former ACORN and union buddies,” Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action, told the Free Beacon. “That’s yet another factual predicate showing the biased and arbitrary nature of the NLRB’s decision.”

Cause of Action obtained the email in its investigation of NLRB’s actions against Boeing.

The group is investigating whether the NLRB violated the Administrative Procedures Act, a law meant to keep federal agencies from engaging in “arbitrary and capricious” actions, Epstein said.

Nancy Cleeland, Director of Public Affairs at the NLRB, told the Free Beacon that the emails were inconsequential and did not point to bias.

She also expressed outrage and indignation upon being asked for comment.

In an April 27, 2011 email, NLRB Acting Counsel Lafe Solomon forwarded an email of support from ACORN founder Wade Rathke to Cleeland.

“Lafe: I don’t know if you might get this otherwise but thought I would pass on Wade Rathke’s thoughts … he was the former head of Acorn,” the email reads. “Also spoke with a labor friend today (atty with a union) who unsolicited spoke about how impressed everyone is with all you have been attempting to do and accomplishing.”

The email also contains a blog post by Rathke, “Labor board grows a set,” applauding the regulatory agency for its recent complaint against jetliner manufacturer Boeing.

Cleeland responded: “Friends like these…”

The NLRB dropped its complaint against Boeing in December 2011.

CJ Ciaramella   Email CJ | Full Bio | RSS
CJ Ciaramella is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, he was a reporter for the Daily Caller. He was also a Collegiate Network year-long fellow at the San Diego Union-Tribune and has written articles for the Weekly Standard and Oregon Quarterly. Ciaramella attended the University of Oregon, where he edited the award-winning student magazine, the Oregon Commentator. He lives in Washington, D.C. His Twitter handle is @cjciaramella. His email address is ciaramella@freebeacon.com.