Interesting facts are often found when journalists, activists and individual citizens file Freedom of Information Act requests seeking information somebody in the federal government might not want the public to know.
Take the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB has been ground zero for much of President Obama's tenure in the Oval Office for his efforts to reward Big Labor for its campaign support in 2008 and 2012.
As a result, the NLRB has issued hundreds of rulings since 2009 that critics in the business community and elsewhere say too often give unfair - and sometimes maybe even illegal - advantages to the unions.
Even more controversial has been Obama's insistence that he can pack the NLRB with his appointees, even if doing so requires recess appointments when the Senate is not in recess. A federal court recently ruled such appointments unconstitutional, but the Obama appointees keep right on truckin' as if nothing happened.
But there are other interesting things happening at NLRB, as the Americans for Limited Government, one of the conservative activist non-profits that keeps a very close eye on Big Labor, discovered recently by filing an FOIA.
Among much else, the ALG found, according to its NetRightDaily web site, two NLRB attorneys making far in excess of $100,000. But they aren't working for the NLRB, they are working on "official time" for the federal employee union that represents the board's workers.
"These are employees whose official job is to handle internal NLRB union activities exclusively, rather than carrying out any of the NLRB's official responsibilities," NetRightDaily's Brad Tidwell.
"Bert Pearlston, General Attorney (Labor) for the NLRB, made $141,726.00 per year, and Steven Sloper, Labor Management Relations Examiner made $116,240.00. With the national median salary at $40,300 and unemployment of 7.9%, jobs like these would be highly sought in the private sector," Tidwell said.
Other NLRB employees are also paid official time for part-time work on union matters, for an amount totalling in excess of $510,000, according to Tidwell, who also found that NLRB is the federal agency with the highest per-capita use of official time among all federal departments and agencies.
For more from ALG, go here.
Mark Tapscott is executive editor of The Washington Examiner.