NLRB official suspended for pro-union conflict of interest

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The National Labor Relations Board suspended a top-ranking Philadelphia official after receiving complaints that he helped raise money from unions for his pro-union charity.

Dennis Walsh, the regional director for the agency’s fourth district, was suspended without pay for 30 days in December after an inspector general investigation revealed that he had misled ethics officers about his tenure as chairman of the Peggy Browning Fund.

The nonprofit, named after a former NLRB board member, has close ties to some of the major unions that appeared before Walsh’s office, which handles unfair labor practice cases and local elections. The agency inspector general found that nearly 60 percent of Region 4’s casework “involved at least one prohibited source who made a contribution to the Peggy Browning Fund.”

Walsh and the NLRB did not return requests for comment.

Walsh disclosed his relationship to an ethics officer in July 2013 when he began work at the agency. He was cleared to retain his position as chairman of the nonprofit’s board after telling the officer that he had “no direct involvement in fundraising.”

“I do not directly ask anyone for contributions, and I do not allow my name to be used on any literature that directly solicits contributions,” Walsh said. “My role is to run our quarterly meetings, keep track of committee assignments, and responsibilities.”

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