Obama Attorney With SEIU Ties Should be Investigated for Ethical Conflicts
August 12th 2010 · 0 Comments
After resisting multiple requests to recuse himself from cases involving the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an Obama Administration attorney with ties to organized labor should be investigated for possible ethical violations, according to the National Right to Work (NRTW) Foundation.
Craig Becker, who previously served as an associate general counsel for the SEIU and AFL-CIO, was selected via an Obama recess appointment to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in March after his nomination ran into congressional opposition. Becker has suggested in his academic writings that major policy changes could be implemented without legislative approval. He has also litigated against NRTW Foundation clients and help shape legal strategies for SEIU affiliates.
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder, the Foundation calls for an investigation into Becker’s participation in recent legal cases that concern his former employer. This activity could be in direction violation of the ethics pledge that Becker signed in April, the NRTWF letter states.
To date, NRTW attorneys have filed over a dozen recusal motions against Becker but he has refused to comply in every case except one. The ethics pledge Becker signed includes the following pledge: ““I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.”
Nevertheless, Becker has proceeded to take part in cases involving SEIU affiliates. On June 3, an NLRB panel that included Becker issued a decision involving St. Barnabas Hospital in New York and SEIU Local 1957. On June 8, another NLRB panel with Becker issued a ruling involving the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in Calif. and Local 121RN. In response to NRTW, Becker has argued that his participation in cases that concern SEIU affiliates do not violate ethical restrictions because the locals are “separate and distinct entities.”
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