St. Louis Partner Jerry Hunter was quoted Sept. 5 by Bloomberg News concerning the stalemate between the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Democratic lawmakers in Congress seeking to know which cases the board’s four members have decided to recuse themselves from due to potential conflicts of interest. The board has turned over some requested materials, but NLRB Chairman John Ring says lawmakers aren’t entitled to all of it. Ring has said “pre-decisional” communications between members and staff are immune from disclosure because “they contain deliberative-process and privileged material” and “can reasonably be expected to interfere with the Agency’s law-enforcement function” in connection with pending cases.
“Chairman Ring is not lying when he says the board has strictly guarded pre-decisional information,” said Hunter, a former NLRB general counsel. “In fact, Ring spoke too broadly when he said pre-decisional information was limited to ‘Board Employees.’ To be accurate, pre-decisional information is actually limited to Board Members, attorneys and other staff personnel working for the Board Members. I understand why the board does not want to announce in advance if a member is recused from a case.”