On Sunday The Washington Post editorial board spoke out against Rep. Darrell Issa’s unprecedented meddling in an ongoing legal proceeding to protect a single company—Boeing. As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Issa has spent the summer harassing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in an attempt to thwart the agency’s routine investigation of Boeing’s decision to move production in retaliation against workers at the company’s Washington state facility.
This April, after months of investigation and settlement attempts, NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon issued a complaint against Boeing. The complaint came in response to the company’s repeated remarks to its employees and the media that it was moving production from its Washington state plant to South Carolina in response to workers at its Washington plant exercising their protected rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Contrary to claims from right-wing legislators and pundits, Boeing’s alleged retaliation against its employees is illegal in every state, so the complaint has absolutely nothing to do with South Carolina’s status as a “right-to-work” state. (For more information on the case, click here.)
Issa’s latest tactic has been to subpoena the NLRB’s evidence, even though the case is ongoing. As the Post rightly points out, nearly all of the documents related to the case will be in the public record shortly, making Issa’s maneuver nothing short of an effort to torpedo the legal process. For this reason, 34 law professors have signed a letter to Issa asking that he drop his subpoena.
Similarly, former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein expressed his concern that Issa’s bullying of the NLRB threatens the fundamental principle of due process under the law. As Feinstein wrote in an opinion-editorial in The Hill, “impugning the legitimacy of a legal case at the early stages of prosecution challenges the basic legal framework that underlies our Constitution.”
We have to agree. In this country, no company—not even Boeing—is above the law.