Could Instant Replay Have Caught the President’s Quarterback Sneak?

There are few moments during sports events such as Super Bowls that capture fans’ attention more than when the refs call for an instant replay. Now that Super Bowl XLVII is in the record books, perhaps it’s time Congress considers adapting such technology to catch rule violations in politics.

Instant replay would have been helpful when President Obama pulled a quarterback sneak last year, illegally appointing two pro-union officials to the National Labor Relations Board. The Board members wasted little time in handing down more than 200 decisions, many of which tilted the playing field against the nation’s small businesses.

Recently, the president’s appointments were ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court. But it took a year for that process to work its way through our legal system, a delay that has been costly for many small firms. And even though some of the illicit board’s decisions may be called back, considerable damage has been done.

Meanwhile, the President has gained political yardage by ignoring the rules as written in the Constitution. He’s not only pushed his anti-small-business agenda beyond legal bounds, but he’s used his unfair advantage to energize a declining labor movement.

Worse, he’s contributed to the demoralization of the small-business community at a time when millions of enterprises should be cranking up operations to bolster the economy and create jobs. On Main Street, there is much concern that this administration will increase its overreach, allowing other agencies to reward the President’s friends at the expense of business owners.

That’s certainly the atmosphere at Noel Canning, a Yakima, Wash. family-owned bottling company that suffered unnecessary roughness at the hands of the new NLRB appointees who weighed in for big labor during contract negotiations.

The National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s largest small-business organization, teamed up with other business groups to challenge the agency on behalf of Noel Canning. And the appeals court agreed, stating that the president had overstepped his authority in making these recess appointments when the Senate was in session.

The NLRB has been caught flaunting its disregard for fair government by deliberately continuing to make union-friendly policy while no official quorum is present. Even the board’s chairman, also seated with an Obama recess appointment, thumbed his nose at the appeals court saying he would continue business-as-usual regardless of the decision.

Neither does the President seem concerned with the court’s decision. It may take a ruling by the Supreme Court to render this foul play illegal. But that will mean only more delay, more expense to small firms and more fear on Main Street as the plodding processes of government unfold.

It may not be realistic to expect Congress to adapt instant replay technology to catch these rules violations quickly, but America’s small-business community will not stand idly on the sidelines while one team deliberately breaks the rules of the game. NFIB will fight to bring fairness and equal justice for small firms back to the NLRB and any other government agency that ignores the checks and balances guaranteed by our  Constitution.

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About Dan Danner

Donald A. "Dan" Danner was named president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, in February, 2009. Danner is only the sixth president in the history of the organization. Before rising to the top spot, Danner was executive vice president, overseeing NFIB's federal and state public policy and political activities as well as the organization's three 501 (c) 3 operations: the Research Foundation, Small Business Legal Center and the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. He came to NFIB in 1993 as vice president of the NFIB Education Foundation (now known as the Young Entrepreneur Foundation) and was named vice president of federal public policy in 1995. Previously, he was chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Danner also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he was special assistant to the president and deputy director of the department. Before joining the White House staff, Danner was an executive with Armco Inc., a steel manufacturing company. He held leadership positions in sales and marketing, as well as state and federal lobbying on issues such as energy, environment, taxes and trade. He also served four years as vice president of federal relations at George Mason University. A native of Middletown, Ohio, Danner holds an MBA degree from Xavier University and an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University.
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