FLASHBACK: Obama Appointee Ensnared in Scandal Behind Boeing Debacle

Lafe Solomon / AP
• September 18, 2012 1:31 pm


The National Labor Relations Board’s Acting General Counsel, currently mired in an ethics scandal, was the lead counsel in the labor board’s prosecution of Boeing in 2011.

Boeing decided to open a new factory in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, instead of Washington, where it already had a factory and where workers had striked multiple times. In response, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Boeing, saying that the factory’s relocation was retaliation against unionized workers in Washington.

After Boeing and the union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, came to a surprise deal, the union requested that the complaint be dropped, a request to which Lafe Solomon, NLRB’s General Counsel, agreed.

As the New York Times reported at the time:

After Mr. Solomon brought the case in April, Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates called it a prime example of regulatory overreach by the Obama administration, arguing that federal officials should not be telling companies where they can or cannot build factories. Congress held hearings and demanded thousands of pages of documents. The case also enraged South Carolina officials, who saw it as an insult to one of their greatest economic development achievements.

The National Right to Work Committee accused Solomon of breaking a pledge to Boeing and of being the union bosses’ pawn in their fight against Boeing.

President Obama, who appointed Solomon, disavowed any association with the NLRB’s case, wrote National Affairs’ Adam White.