Category: Links to resources for whistleblowers


Seriously, does the current Administration think that a voluntary process is going to make functionally any difference at all? 

Those agencies with the most to hide, particularly those who may have employees or directors with inappropriate conflict of interest relationships with corporations or other organizations will be the last to ever consent to the transparency of making responses (truthful and illuminating responses) to FOIA requests more easily accessed. 

Perhaps in issues, which do not involve corruption and direct involvement of federal managers in confederate relationships to defense contractors, who profit mightily from such relationships, there may be some easier access to some information.  But the situations that are causing the worst of the mass of incidents being covered up and kept from the public will not be helped by any of this. 

And those federal employees who are trying to report such violations will continue to be shredded by the system of corruption and the influence pressured by conflict of interest relationships as they are today.

GFS 

Requesting public documents about to get easier

Link to original article: 

http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2012/06/requesting-public-documents-about-get-easier/56044/?oref=ng-relatedstories

Prohibited Personnel Practices (5 USC § 2302(b))

Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority—

  1. discriminate for or against any employee or applicant for employment—

A.     on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, as prohibited under section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–16);

B.     on the basis of age, as prohibited under sections 12 and 15 of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 631, 633a);

C.    on the basis of sex, as prohibited under section 6(d) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206 (d));

D.    on the basis of handicapping condition, as prohibited under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791); or

E.     on the basis of marital status or political affiliation, as prohibited under any law, rule, or regulation;

  1. solicit or consider any recommendation or statement, oral or written, with respect to any individual who requests or is under consideration for any personnel action unless such recommendation or statement is based on the personal knowledge or records of the person furnishing it and consists of—

 .       an evaluation of the work performance, ability, aptitude, or general qualifications of such individual; or

A.     an evaluation of the character, loyalty, or suitability of such individual;

  1. coerce the political activity of any person (including the providing of any political contribution or service), or take any action against any employee or applicant for employment as a reprisal for the refusal of any person to engage in such political activity;
  2. deceive or willfully obstruct any person with respect to such person’s right to compete for employment;
  3. influence any person to withdraw from competition for any position for the purpose of improving or injuring the prospects of any other person for employment;
  4. grant any preference or advantage not authorized by law, rule, or regulation to any employee or applicant for employment (including defining the scope or manner of competition or the requirements for any position) for the purpose of improving or injuring the prospects of any particular person for employment;
  5. appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position any individual who is a relative (as defined in section 3110 (a)(3) of this title) of such employee if such position is in the agency in which such employee is serving as a public official (as defined in section 3110 (a)(2) of this title) or over which such employee exercises jurisdiction or control as such an official;
  6. take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, a personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant for employment because of—

 .       any disclosure of information by an employee or applicant which the employee or applicant reasonably believes evidences—

                               i.            a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or

                                                    ii.            gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law and if such information is not specifically required by Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs; or

A.     any disclosure to the Special Counsel, or to the Inspector General of an agency or another employee designated by the head of the agency to receive such disclosures, of information which the employee or applicant reasonably believes evidences—

                                                        .            a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or

                                                       i.            gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety;

  1. take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any personnel action against any employee or applicant for employment because of—

 .                   the exercise of any appeal, complaint, or grievance right granted by any law, rule, or regulation;

A.     testifying for or otherwise lawfully assisting any individual in the exercise of any right referred to in subparagraph (A);

B.     cooperating with or disclosing information to the Inspector General of an agency, or the Special Counsel, in accordance with applicable provisions of law; or

C.    for refusing to obey an order that would require the individual to violate a law;

  1. discriminate for or against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee or applicant or the performance of others; except that nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit an agency from taking into account in determining suitability or fitness any conviction of the employee or applicant for any crime under the laws of any State, of the District of Columbia, or of the United States;
  2.  

 .                   knowingly take, recommend, or approve any personnel action if the taking of such action would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; or

A.     knowingly fail to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action if the failure to take such action would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; or

  1. take or fail to take any other personnel action if the taking of or failure to take such action violates any law, rule, or regulation implementing, or directly concerning, the merit system principles contained in section 2301 of this title.

This subsection shall not be construed to authorize the withholding of information from the Congress or the taking of any personnel action against an employee who discloses information to the Congress.

I attended one of these sessions recently.  You do not have to be an attorney to attend.  I recommend that you all attend and read Mr. Kohn’s new book.  It is written to make the complexities understandable even for people who are not attorney’s.    Your fee includes a copy of Mr. Kohn’s new book and handouts.  He was very open to answering participant questions.  GFS

************

On May 25th, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted whistleblower rules that fundamentally changed and enhanced the right of employees to obtain legal protection and large financial rewards (see Washington Post article).  The National Whistleblowers Center and its legal staff were extensively involved in this process, providing the SEC with nine formal rulemaking submissions and personally meeting one-on-one with each of the five SEC commissioners.  Many of the NWC’s proposals were adopted by the SEC, and the Final Rules cited to NWC formal comments forty-four times.  The new regulations will prove an invaluable asset in the representation of corporate whistleblowers, and the new regulations if properly utilized will prove to be an invaluable asset in successfully representing employees and preventing corporate fraud.

As a result, the National Whistleblowers Center is conducting a series of nationwide seminars that will focus on the new SEC regulations, and the historic whistleblower protections contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The seminars will explain the new anti-retaliation rules governing corporate employees and the financial reward provisions.  These rules require the SEC to pay large financial awards to qualified whistleblowers for which there is no cap and can result in multiple millions of dollars in recoveries.

 
Dodd-Frank Act
3-hour CLE Seminar
NEW Corporate Whistleblower Protections and Reward Provisions
On July 21, 2010, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Act. Corporate whistleblowing was forever changed. The Act established the right of whistleblowers to obtain multi-million dollar rewards for reporting violations of Securities and Commodities Exchange Acts. These “qui tam” provisions were modeled on the False Claims Act — a law that already has resulted in whistleblowers obtaining over $2.7 billion dollars in rewards for reporting federal contracting and procurement violations to the Justice Department. Dodd-Frank also enhanced employment protections available to whistleblowers. Retaliatory discharge cases can now be filed directly in federal court, with the right to a jury trial. Under Dodd-Frank, mandatory arbitration agreements cannot be enforced.

Seminar Fees: 

$150 ATTORNEY REFERRAL SERVICE MEMBERS
($95 For Early Bird Special!)

$295 ATTORNEYS
($150 For Early Bird Special!)

$75 WHISTLEBLOWERS

Call (202) 342-1903 for Early Sign-up or ARS Discount Codes

To REGISTER visit our UPCOMING EVENTS page
Locations:

Washington, DC — June 10th, 2011 (Teleconference Available)
         National Whistleblowers Center
         3238 P Street NW
         Washington, DC 20007

         Register on or before June 7th for Early Bird Special

         Contact Seminar Director Estelle Kohn at ek@whistleblowers.org or Associate
         Seminar Director Philip Barrett at whistle@whistleblowers.org or call
         (202) 342-1903 to register

Denver, CO — June 23rd, 2011
         The Browne Palace Hotel & Spa
         321 17th Street
         Denver, CO 80202

         Register on or before June 10th for Early Bird Special

San Francisco, CA — June 27th, 2011
         TURN-The Utility Reform Network
         115 Sansome Street, Suite 900
         San Francisco, CA 94104

         Register on or before June 10th for Early Bird Special

Los Angeles, CA — June 28th, 2011
         Carlsmith Ball LLP
         444 South Flower Street, 9th Floor
         Los Angeles, CA 90071-2901

         Register on or before June 10th for Early Bird Special

New York, NY — July 25th, 2011
         New York Marriott Downtown
         85 West Street at Albany Street
         New York, NY 10006

         Register on or before July 15th for Early Bird Special

CURRICULUM:
Learn how to use the new corporate whistleblower laws and regulations to effectively represent employees, combat fraud and qualify for large whistleblower rewards. Gain insight into how whistleblower protections laws can be integrated into your law practice as powerful legal tools for maximizing your client’s ability to have their case heard before a jury and obtain entitlement to large monetary damage awards and rewards.

FACULTY:
Stephen M. Kohn, Esq. is the Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center and one of the nations leading advocates on whistleblower law.  Mr. Kohn will present this unique seminar on the latest whistleblower laws and rewards provisions. Mr. Kohn has represented numerous high profile whistleblowers for over 27 years. He has authored seven books on whistleblower law, including the recently published The Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself (Lyons Press, 2011). Mr. Kohn was the principal author of the NWC’s rulemaking petitions and personally met with all five SEC Commissioners and the responsible Commission staff.

To Register or For More Information:
Please visit our UPCOMING EVENTS page or contact Estelle Kohn or Philip Barrett by phone: (202) 342-1903 or email: ek@whistleblowers.org or whistle@whistleblowers.org.  

If you cannot make the seminar, you can purchase the course materials, The Whistleblower’s Handbook, online for $16.95 plus shipping.

I received this from POGO (Project On Government Oversight), last week.  –GFS

 *********

Dear G. Florence,

Two important developments to tell you about:

On the heels of testimony by POGO’s Angela Canterbury, Congress has repealed a provision that had given the SEC outrageous secrecy privileges.

This is a major victory for defrauded investors, for whistleblowers and for open government.

POGO is joining a bi-partisan group of senators in calling for new leadership in a key government oversight position.

The current Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)—the government watchdog who is supposed to root out fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer dollars in Afghanistan reconstruction efforts—has had a disappointing tenure.

Taxpayers have spent over $51 billion on reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2002, and it’s time to put an effective watchdog in place.

I encourage you to read more about these issues at POGO”s Website:

Brief analysis of the bill to repeal SEC secrecy privileges  http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2010/09/sec-secrecy-repeal-sent-to-obama.html

Highlights from POGO testimony arguing for need to repeal these privileges  http://www.pogo.org/pogo-files/alerts/financial-oversight/fo-fra-20100915.html

Why the current SIGAR needs to go   http://www.pogo.org/pogo-files/alerts/government-oversight/go-igi-20100923.html

Is this useful?  It seems to me that the traditional advice given about handling stress does not work so well in today’s setting.  Anyone have any thoughts, critiques, or better advice?  GFS

 

Stress 

 

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience,

raised a glass of water and asked, ‘How heavy is this glass of water?’

 

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

 

The lecturer replied, ‘The absolute weight doesn’t matter.

It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.’

 

He continued,

‘And that’s the way it is with stress management.

If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later

the burden will become increasingly heavy

and we won’t be able to carry on.’

 

‘As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.

When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.

So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down: don’t carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you’re carrying now,

let them down for a moment if you can.’

 

So, my friend, Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don’t pick it up again until after you’ve rested a while.

 

Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

 

* Just accept that, some days, you’re the pigeon

and some days, you’re the statue.

 

* Always keep your words soft and sweet – ,

just in case you have to eat them.

 

* Always wear stuff that will make you look good

if you die in the middle of it.

 

*Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that can be

“recalled” by their maker.

 

* If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

 

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again,

It was probably worth it.

 

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

 

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time,

because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

 

* Nobody cares if you can’t dance well.

Just get up and dance.

 

* Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird,

sleep late.

 

* The second mouse gets the cheese.

 

* When everything’s coming your way,

you’re in the wrong lane.

 

* Birthdays are good for you.

The more you have, the longer you live.

 

* You may be only one person in the world,

But you may also be the world to one person.

 

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

 

* We could learn a lot from crayons… Some are sharp; some are pretty; and some are dull. Some have weird names; and all are different colours; but they all have to live in the same box.

 

*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

 

 

Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today….  I did…

 

 

 

Do you realize in about 40 years we’ll have thousands of OLD LADIES running around with sagging TATTOOS?  and  RAP MUSIC will be the GOLDEN OLDIES (Now that is SCARY)—– Maxine

Someone sent this to me last week.  I post it here for everyone to consider.  It appears some of our elected officials including Alan Grayson, Congressman from Florida, are working to help people see how their congressional candidates stand on certain types of reform legislation prior to the fall elections.  You also can add your name to the list of people committed to real change and clean up of the swamp we have been dealing with as of late.  Go for it!

GFS

*******

Subject: Sick of corporate corruption? Join me and Stand for Democracy
 
We need a government that solves real problems and answers to the people, not to BP, Goldman Sachs and big corporate lobbyists. We have seen where that gets us.
Decades of lobbying and influence peddling in DC have given us a government that is full of corporate corruption. It is not a new problem, but we can end it now if this election year we join together to support a blueprint to take back our democracy and demand that our elected leaders stand with us.
That is why I endorsed on the Stand for Democracy Pledge, a crowd-sourced statement of principles about how democracy should work. If we people across the country come together to sign this pledge, we can send a real message to candidates about what we need to do to get this job done.
I participated and I hope you will, too.
Follow this link to take a stand for democracy: http://www.fightwashingtoncorruption.org

Update:  9-5-10   I never did get any kind of response from the DoD Hotline.  As I posted on a different item today, I would caution people, particularly from DSS about submitting complaints to the DSS IG or the DoD hotline.  I have been informed that hotline complaints regarding DSS (Defense Security Service) are being sent to Richard Lawhorn, second in command at DSS (or was unless his reassignment has occured), which gives him a chance to see who is complaining and also to derail the complaint.  Based on what I have been able to find out, this is a big concern, as if one of the people most likely culpable for the poor treatment of field employees is being given that kind of access to an allegedly protected hotline complaint process employees are supposed to be able to safely use to report fraud, waste and abuse, then the whole system is corrupted and is very much broken. 

I would recommend at this time that you consider contacting the DoD IG Reprisal office with your complaints of harassment, abuse, and retribution from unethical managers, (Title V Complaints).  You might also contact your Congressperson or Senator.  I am informed that there are Congressional Investigations going on related to DSS, and other agencies right now.  Your information would help assure something may get done right.   If you have complaints of criminal activities, the fraud, waste, theft, espionage  and such in addition, (Title 18 matters), I believe the Reprisal office may be able to help direct your information to the correct criminal law enforcement personnel. 

In the mean time, here is the email link to the Department of Defense Hotline, associated with the DoD IG.  If you are not actually an employee of the DoD and are complaining about things you’ve learned about, but that do not directly affect you or your loved ones, go for it. 

hotline@dodig.mil

Here is an example letter of complaint to the DoD Hotline.  I sent this today.  I encourage everyone else with “pieces of the puzzle” to do the same.  The more of us that do, the better chance we have of prevailing.  GFS

*******

 

Monday, July 26, 2010

DoD Hotline:

Below is an excellent article written by Julia Davis, of the LA Examiner, including the link to the original document.  This article rings very true with the person who sent it to me, (see his/her comments preceding the article). 

And it reads as a very true characterization for me of what has been going on in DoD and some other agencies, both with internal governmental problems reported by federal employees who uncovered them in the course of doing their jobs, and with reports of problems involving defense contractors, also uncovered while federal employees were doing their jobs.

There are a growing number of federal employees who have found fraud, waste, abuse, and criminal behaviors on the part of federal government agency management and/or defense contractor management, who have found that after reporting the problems and including that information in their reports, as required by law, they have been targeted for harassment and retribution of the most egregious types. 

Only the most tenacious continue to weather the beatings and try to advance their cases through their immediate chain of command, and then the only other available paths of recourse, hoping to have it finally taken seriously, criminally investigated, and then properly prosecuted.  All along the way, at each step in the process, these federal employees have been harassed, threatened, and have had to endure intense retribution.   Their belief, in the very government they have dedicated their careers and lives to as public servants, has been badly shaken.  Observing what has been going on and what has happened to these people through spotty news coverage, personal contacts and in some cases dogged research, many of us,  citizens and taxpayers, also have lost faith in our government and its ability to solve problems, and protect us from thugs and those who would take apart our very system of government and justice and every other system that holds this country together. 

These ethical federal employees also have found that the corruption has infiltrated the very criminal investigative agencies they must report to in order to get help.  They have found that there are many ties between wrongdoers across many agencies, and can attest to the fact there has been, (and still appears to be), purposeful communication between these wrongdoers, showing a coordinated effort to try to keep the fraud, waste, abuse and other crimes behind the veil of secrecy, and to try to destroy the federal employees who won’t stop investigating and pushing for lawful criminal investigation and prosecution of the culpable parties.   It is also clear there has been an organized effort to stop these investigations from proceeding, taking the work of these honest federal employees and leaving it and them, ground into the floor.  I have heard reports that these problems extend into the highest levels of government, including the Pentagon. 

The kinds of things Ms. Davis writes about in her list of “accomplishments” of Scott Bloch during his tenure at the OSC, are precisely what many, if not most, federal employees have experienced.  It appears to me that these tactics are very wide spread within government offices, and have been pretty much institutionalized within management ranks, and I know that in one case, were also being collaborated with a particular defense contractor, against a particular federal oversight employee.  This situation also involved revolving door activity which is in violation of federal law or policy.  (I believe there may have been some policy changes somewhat recently made by those that wished to minimize their revolving door activity restrictions.  This warrants a bit of research.)  After reading Ms. Davis’s article, I now know the history of these types of attacks on our civil service and justice systems.

I am aware that currently there are investigations into matters surrounding wrongdoing at DSS and another agency thanks to readers of my blog and sources from the Beltway.  I also have heard that this may involve criminal matters as well as investigation into DSS’s and the other agency’s harassment and retribution (abuse) of employees.  Please take action on these matters. 

It is not acceptable to have federal managers committing unethical acts in order to try to scuttle an employee’s efforts to secure justice every step of the way.  It is not acceptable to have those in the criminal investigative agencies and in the Justice Department sitting on cases and taking no action on them.  Shenanigans include having a criminal investigator in one agency claim on one case “No one will talk to me,” referring to the witnesses who waited for nearly 8 years for someone to contact them and hear their story and their evidence.  No one ever contacted them.  Clearly the investigator was lying and trying to stop the case from going forward.  It includes having multiple agencies try to close another case after many years of these agencies trying to cover up the crimes and stop the investigations, at every level and in every agency the case passed through.  In this particular case no one had even made the effort to obtain and see the substantial documentation and evidence which would have made the case extremely prosecutable despite the efforts of the wrongdoers to stop it.

 All of this is outrageous.  So far successful careers and lives are being destroyed, and the American taxpayers are paying for it and continuing to be negatively affected by it. 

Interestingly, I was aware independently of many of these problems that were taking place even before reading Ms. Davis’s discourse on Scott Bloch.  It is clear, based on what I have learned from multiples of federal employees and in reading news reports, that these types of tactics have been used in a variety of federal offices, and I have featured some of it in my blog postings.  It is difficult to do this due to the fear that exists in the federal employee ranks.  (Fear that is understandable considering the systematic terrorizing they are subjected to on a daily basis as they try to do their jobs.)  Despite this I’ve been able to put enough out there to let these employees know they are not as isolated and alone as they have been led to believe.  I know there are a lot of current, former and retired federal employees out there, and I believe that each of them holds pieces of a very large puzzle.  If all of those pieces can be retrieved and brought together maybe a true and complete picture and understanding may illuminated.  Then it will be possible to route all of this evil-doing and put our government and civil service back to some semblance of integrity and functionality. 

The U.S. Government is negligent in not taking action to stop these problems.  This type of malfeasance must be prosecuted and dealt with severely wherever it is found.  I am extremely offended that it is reported that in Scott Bloch’s case, “Prosecutors said they would not oppose probation without any imprisonment for Bloch.”  This is outrageous.

The problems caused by Bloch and others include crimes against not only loyal federal employees who were trying to ethically and lawfully do their jobs, but the American taxpayers and citizens themselves.  No wonder there is no trust in government, when this is the way the Justice Department and other agencies entrusted with protecting our country and its citizens choose to deal with very serious and endemic problems.  If Bloch and others were ordered to commit these unlawful and unethical acts, then follow the trail to the top.  Find out who was directing all of this and investigate and prosecute them as well, including everyone who cooperated and joined in all the way up the chain of command.

It is like U.S. Government oversight, criminal investigations, and justice agencies have been choosing to fight a raging wildfire with a squirt gun and saying “Oh well, we tried.  We just couldn’t stop it so it will all burn to the ground, but eventually it may grow back.  Be happy.”  This is not acceptable to most of us, not in the least.  We cannot allow our law enforcement agencies, government oversight and the Justice Department to just blink and “move on.” 

Sometimes you just can’t move forward and try to forget the unresolved past.  The corruption and sickness in the system will not heal itself.  In fact, like a cancer, it has been spreading.  It must be identified, and cut out, while reinforcing our laws and policies and reenergizing oversight to make sure it does not occur again. 

You may forward this email to anyone that is actively trying to do something responsible about the unacceptable abuse of federal employees.  I am continuing to invite federal employees and others to communicate on my blogs.  It is time to shine light into the swamp and rid it of its predators.  We have enough bloodied victims of this epidemic suffering now.  These issues are very critical.  You must take definitive action immediately.  Our country’s future depends on it. 

Sincerely

G. Florence Scott

 

*******

 

Scott Bloch and the OSC: Justice is still dragging its heels 

A reader sent this to me today.  His/her comments prefaced the article as follows and are very compelling.   You will find earlier reporting of Scott Bloch and his troubled rein at the Office of Special Council (OSC) in the historical portions of this blog.  Use the search under Scott Bloch and/or OSC.

I urge anyone who has knowledge of any information which may assist those who are fighting to bring to light the corruption and wrongdoing that had become an even more imbedded part of government culture the past decade to reenergize and stand up.  I hear rumors that there are some good people who are trying to bring about accountability for the miscreants.  Some high level investigations and probable criminal proceedings are in progress.  Speak up now.  If all of the whistleblowers created in the past decade all joined together, it would make truth and justice much more likely to obtain for everyone.   

GFS

 *******

Reader’s Comment:

“If you would like to see what is really going on within the federal government agencies, read this article.  This clearly describes just what I have seen and experienced as to how corrupt our government has become.  We must take a solid stand before it gets worse, which I know is happening daily.  This reporter has done her research and she has published an accurate and complete report.   Our democracy as we have known it is in jeopardy and unless we join together to take a stand against corruption, it will soon be gone.  Please help spread the word. “

Anonymous Contributor

Office of Special Counsel (OSC) – the dark legacy

July 23, 1:47 PM LA Homeland Security Examiner Julia Davis

Whistleblowers and federal government workers rejoiced on April 27, 2010, when former head of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), Scott J. Bloch, pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of Congress. The justice continues to be delayed, as Scott Bloch’s sentencing has been rescheduled for the second time and is now set for September 8, 2010. U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson said that she wants prosecutors and Bloch’s attorney to clarify the applicable guidelines for Bloch’s sentence and fine. Robinson is also apparently planning to “adjust” the sentence based on Bloch’s guilty plea. She stated that the lawyers failed to clearly define the sentencing guidelines in this matter.

Prosecutors said they would not oppose probation without any imprisonment for Bloch. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with our courts. While the Department of Justice relentlessly pursues, prosecutes and imprisons inconvenient whistleblowers, high-ranking bureaucrats who violate their rights are usually coddled by the system. The crooked wheel of justice crushes those at the lower levels of the government and pushes up criminals in high places. This bad egg is being cooked over-easy, with obvious disregard for hundreds of whistleblowers whose careers have been destroyed due to the OSC’s failure to investigate their complaints.

The legacy of failure

Here is an abbreviated list of Scott Bloch’s dubious “accomplishments” as the former head of the OSC:

Knowingly and willfully ignoring whistleblower disclosures;

Dismissing and closing hundreds of whistleblowing complaints without investigation;

Deleting hundreds of files pertaining to whistleblowing disclosures and complaints of retaliation and reprisal;

Rolling back protections for federal employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation;

Staffing key OSC positions with cronies who shared his discriminatory views;

Engaging in retaliatory activities against OSC staffers who opposed his wrongdoing;

Assigning interns to issue closure letters in hundreds of whistleblower complaints without investigation;

Intimidating OSC employees from cooperating with government investigators;

Misusing prosecutorial power for political purposes;

Reducing the backlog of cases pending at the OSC by 56% percent by closing cases without an investigation and destroying electronic files;

During the fiscal year of 2008, the OSC filed 0 corrective action petitions with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB);

During the fiscal year of 2008, the OSC obtained 0 stays from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB);

Bloch reassigned his perceived critics within the OSC to field offices across the country – giving them 10 days to accept, or else they’d be fired;

Bloch imposed retaliatory transfers upon OSC staffers he perceived as having a “homosexual agenda”;

OSC under Bloch rarely recognized legitimate whistleblowers, typically only when the whistleblower has already prevailed elsewhere;

In an ironic twist that shocked his own staffers, in 2007 Bloch initiated a large-scale investigation against Karl Rove. He decided to probe the disappearance of an untold number of emails related to the firing of the New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney, David Iglesias. Bloch assembled a task force to create the impression that the OSC was investigating the White House, while Bloch himself was under investigation for mass-destruction of inconvenient documents. One year earlier, in December of 2006, Bloch hired private technicians with a firm called “Geeks On Call” to delete whistleblower complaints and related computer files by conducting the 7-level memory wipe of the computers at the OSC’s office. Bloch was also investigated by the FBI for obstruction of a Hatch Act inquiry for improperly mixing his political and official activities.

Bloch wasn’t charged with obstruction of justice, evidence tampering, destruction of official files, impeding an official federal investigation, civil right violations and violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). Instead, he was charged only with criminal contempt. While this charge carried a possible prison sentence, Department of Justice prosecutors said they would not oppose probation for Bloch, who is currently working as (don’t fall down laughing) an employment attorney at the Tarone & McLaughlin law firm in Washington.

Bloch’s defense attorney, William Sullivan Jr., a Winston & Strawn partner in Washington, had the audacity to state in court papers that Bloch has “served with distinction” as the head of the OSC. Sullivan wrote, “This case marks an unfortunate aberration for Mr. Bloch,” submitting 35 pages of letters to Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson, who is scheduled to preside over the sentencing. These letters include notes from Bloch’s wife, his friends and former co-workers.

“Glad this matter is behind us, and Mr. Bloch is looking forward to getting on with his life,” Sullivan said as he walked with Scott Bloch to the probation office. Bloch’s victims don’t have the same luxury, as whistleblowers have been continually oppressed with no recourse throughout OSC’s existence.

OSC’s dark history

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) was created in the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act to protect whistleblowers from reprisal and hold responsible agency managers accountable. Under President Carter, OSC languished without permanent leadership or funding. When President Reagan came to power, he quickly appointed Alex Kozinski as the Special Counsel and gutted the OSC. Nearly 50% of the OSC personnel and 70% of attorneys and investigators at the OSC headquarters were fired or had resigned. This was unprecedented for any government agency.

Since that time, over 7,000 federal employees have filed complaints with the OSC. Out of those thousands of cases, OSC requested a hearing to restore jobs in only 2 instances.

The dog-gone mind behind the plan

To understand why the OSC never worked according to its stated purpose, one must go back in history. The Watergate investigation revealed a plan by the Nixon administration to replace the non-partisan civil service system with a politically loyal government workforce. Every government agency had a ghost “political hiring czar”, whose authority covertly trumped that of personnel offices.

A special manual was prepared by the former White House Personnel Office Chief Fred Malek. This encyclopedia-like guide was dubbed the Malek Manual and provided information on how to harass career employees out of the government by exploiting loopholes in civil service laws. Unpopular federal employees would be replaced by hand-picked applicants.

The Malek Manual emphasized a telling message: “You cannot achieve management, policy or program control unless you have established political control.” The manual went on to describe underhanded techniques designed to “skirt around the adverse action proceedings” (such as the EEOC and the MSPB), “to remove undesirable employees from their positions.” (The President and the Executive Branch, by Joel D. Aberbach. UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy Occasional Paper Series 9 1-9.)

A telling memorandum written by Fred Malek to President Nixon’s Chief of Staff stated in relevant part, “We garnered from reliable sources in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the Commission was preparing to sue the University of Texas for discrimination in the hiring of faculty. This could be disastrous for Texas. When queried, Bill Brown, Chairman of the EEOC, agreed not to pursue it. I will continue to follow this situation closely.”

The sobriquet most often used to describe Fred Malek was “hatchet man”, because of his ruthlessness in ousting those deemed to be disloyal. Malek’s techniques included mandatory transfers and investigations against whistleblowers and outspoken critics of the establishment. For example, Malek reportedly ordered the FBI to conduct an investigation of then-veteran CBS correspondent and Nixon critic Daniel Schorr, who was placed on the “Enemy List”. Sadly, Daniel Schorr died today, on the day of Scott Bloch’s scheduled sentencing that has now been delayed.

Fred Malek was infamously ordered by Nixon to count the Jews in high-ranking government positions. Malek admittedly completed this blatantly anti-Semitic order and compiled a list of government employees whom he believed to be Jewish. Shortly thereafter, these senior officials were transferred to other locations and less prominent, dead-end positions.

In spite of his prior activities, after leaving the White House, Fred Malek became the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In 1982 Fred Malek was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to head the U.S. Postal Service. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee refused to act on his nomination because Senators reportedly felt that Malek had made conflicting statements under oath regarding his role in the “program”. Outraged committee didn’t hold back its disgust. Then-Senator John Danforth (R-Mo.) said, in relevant part, “… whether it was legal or illegal . . . it was wrong, just plain wrong… you admit that it was true, you admit that it was wrong . . . you regret it and you will never do it again. . . . Am I wrong or right?” Fred Malek responded, “You are absolutely right, senator.” Senator David Pryor (D-Ark.) asked, “Did it ever occur to you that what you were doing was wrong or immoral?” Malek replied, “Yes, sir, it did.”

Under questioning by Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Malek admitted authoring a memo that suggested punishing politically incorrect people. Senator Levin described Malek’s role as “Unethical, immoral and improper”. Malek lost his bid for the head of the Postal Service and a few years later the same disclosures cost him his job as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Fred Malek, Then and Now

Another disgusting vignette of Malek’s character was revealed when police arrested five men after locating a blood-spattered car near the park entrance in Peoria, Illinois. After giving conflicting stories, the men finally admitted that they “caught a dog and were barbecuing it.” The perpetrators caught, skinned and gutted a dog and barbecued it on a spit. One of them was Fred Malek.

Fred Malek, a Dog and the SEC

Fred Malek’s legacy continued with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) action against him in 2004. The SEC instituted administrative and cease-and-desist proceedings against Malek, his company, Thayer Capital Partners and their affiliates. The SEC charged that pension investments in Malek’s company were used to reward a political supporter, William DiBella, former majority leader of the Connecticut Senate. Malek’s company was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $150,000, and Fred Malek was personally made to pay a civil penalty of $100,000. Apparently, a leopard doesn’t change its Jew-counting, whistleblower-retaliating, critic-investigating, dog-barbequing, securities laws-violating spots.

Fred Malek’s career in government and politics didn’t end after his activities were exposed. He is the former President of Marriott Hotels and Northwest Airlines and former assistant to United States Presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush. Malek has formed seven institutional private equity funds, including three corporate acquisition funds with approximately $1.5 billion in committed capital and four funds that target hotel investments with over $500 million in committed capital. He recently served as a National Finance Committee co-chair of John McCain’s presidential campaign. In 2010, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.) called Malek “a man of high principle” who “has proved many times over the years his loyalty to the highest principles of freedom, human rights and international tolerance.”

Should we be surprised that our leaders and government officials are not interested in pushing forth effective whistleblower protection measures? Malek did not respond to this reporter’s request for comments.

The Ink Commission, later created to explore the Watergate Committee’s public record of the abuses, participated in studies and issued recommendations that became the foundation for the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

In spite of the exposure, the ugly Malek Manual continued its destructive influence in government service.

Alex Kozinski and the Malek Manual

The next attack on the OSC and the merit system came from within the Office of Special Counsel itself. It was waged by President Reagan’s appointee, the former head of the OSC, Special Counsel Alex Kozinski, who kept a copy of the Malek Manual on his desk. Kozinski reportedly used its techniques (such as transfers, investigations and harassment) to purge the professional civil service experts from the OSC staff. They were replaced with obedient minions who viewed whistleblowers as crazy, disloyal troublemakers.

While serving as the head of the OSC, Alex Kozinski taught courses to federal managers on how to fire whistleblowers without getting caught by OSC investigators. For example, Alex Kozinski tutored Secretary Watt on how to purge a whistleblowing coal mine inspector from the Department of Interior. He used the OSC Investigations Manual as a handout in these morbid lectures. Senior Supervisors still serving in various government agencies quite possibly received such training on how to get rid of “inconvenient” employees and whistleblowers. These techniques are still being implemented within federal agencies today, with virtual impunity.

Alex Kozinski’s abuses were the major catalyst for passage of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) of 1989, and he was forced to resign.

A few years later, 43 Senators voted against his confirmation for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after Senator Levin’s intensive investigation of Kozinski’s tenure as the OSC’s Special Counsel. In spite of the controversy surrounding his dubious OSC performance, Kozinski became the Chief Judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Curiously enough, OSC fiasco was not the last time Alex Kozinski would bring shame to the public office. In June of 2008, Los Angeles Times reported that Kozinski was caught operating a website that featured photos of naked women on all fours, painted to look like cows. Judge Kozinski’s website reportedly contained suggestive images of bestiality, pictured women shaving their pubic hair, themes of masturbation, public sex, contortionist sex, defecation and urination.

Ironically, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski was set to preside over an obscenity trial (the Issacs trial in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles), from which Kozinski later recused himself.

Porn trial in L.A. is halted – Judge grants a stay after conceding he maintained his own website with sexually explicit images.

With respect to his publicly accessible website, the panel of judges declared that Kozinski was “careless” and “judicially imprudent”. He was reprimanded but not disciplined. In spite of his OSC abuses, reprehensible anti-whistleblower stance and an obscene behavior, Alex Kozinski still sits as the Chief Judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As the head of the OSC, Bloch continued Kozinski’s legacy of shame and disgrace, by destroying careers of countless whistleblowers he was appointed to protect.

Office of Special Counsel’s War On Whistleblowers

United States Office of Special Counsel

Watchdog groups and ethics advocates are appalled at the lackadaisical approach towards Bloch’s crimes. The proposed sentence of probation is not commensurate with the scope and longstanding impact of Bloch’s abuse of office and serious violations against federal whistleblowers.

Uncertain future

The OSC has operated without permanent leadership since 2008, leaving federal employees in the dark ages and without recourse. Legal professionals are now advising federal employees against coming forward. “When people call me and ask about blowing the whistle, I always tell them, ‘Don’t do it, because your life will be destroyed,'” says William Weaver, a professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso and a senior adviser to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. “You’ll lose your career; you’re probably going to lose your family if you have one; you’re probably going to lose all your friends because they’re associated through work; you’ll wind up squandering your life savings on attorneys; and you’ll come out the other end of this process working at McDonald’s.”

Yes, that is the way things are. But that is not the way they ought to be.

Link to original: 

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-35807-LA-Homeland-Security-Examiner~y2010m7d23-Office-of-Special-Counsel-OSC–the-dark-legacy

The Government Accountability Project & Make it Safe Coalition

Present:

2010 NATIONAL WHISTLEBLOWER ASSEMBLY

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: HONORING 10 YEARS OF COMMITMENT

Monday, May 24, 2010 – Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Join the whistleblower community on May 24 and 25 for an intensive conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Co-Sponsors of this year’s Assembly include National Treasury Employees Union and Project On Government Oversight

The Conference Will Feature: A morning plenary session with our congressional allies, theme-based workshops led by prominent whistleblowers and good government organizations, a national security panel with star whistleblowers in the industry, street law update informational sessions, a meet and greet with the new appointees to the MSPB, OSHA, and ARB, and Lobby training and intensive lobbying appointments with congressional offices.

The 2010 National Whistleblower Assembly aims to:

Establish a cohesive social network between whistleblowers

Provide an outlet for direct legislative campaigning

Celebrate ten years of devoted advocacy to strengthen the Whistleblower Protection Act

Confirmed Speakers and Guests Include:

Whistleblowers Frank Serpico, Jack Spadaro, Coleen Rowley, Franz Gayl, George Sarris, and Robert MacLean

MSPB Chairwoman Susan Grundmann, Vice Chairwoman Anne Wagner and Member Mary Rose

ARB Chairman Paul Igasaki and Vice Chairman Cooper Brown

OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels

Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform Norm Eisen

We look forward to your valued attendance. If you have any questions, or to RSVP, please contact Becky Jones at the Government Accountability Project or call us at (202) 457-0034 ext. 127.

Please click here for more information, including a working schedule for the Assembly

GAP’s mission is to promote corporate and government accountability by protecting whistleblowers, advancing occupational free speech, and empowering citizen activists.

GAP has been the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization since 1977.

The Government Accountability Project

1612 K Street NW, Washington DC 20006

I know other federal agents who have had similar distasteful professional interfacings with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).  These agents have confided that other criminal investigations have been completely mishandled by these two agencies, thereby severely hampering or derailing investigations that should have proceeded to criminal prosecutions.  GFS

* * * * * * *

 From Harper’s Magazine:

The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle

 By Scott Horton   January 18, 9:00 AM, 2010 

This is the full text of an exclusive advance feature by Scott Horton that will appear in the March 2010 Harper’s Magazine. The issue will be available on newsstands the week of February 15.

Link to original:   http://www.harpers.org/archive/2010/01/hbc-90006368

For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Sparky’s blog concerning KBR Electrical Failures, Death of Soldiers due to Faulty Electrical Work in Iraq/Afghanistan, please follow the links and read on.  It is well worth your time.  If the links aren’t working, go to Ms. Sparky’s website at:  http://mssparky.com/

 -GFS

————————————————————————————————

 

Ms. Sparky’s Blog Updates

 

 

I have been traveling and am behind on my comment responses. I hope to get those caught up within the next day or so. Thanks to my faithful readers for their insightful comments. 

 

To read all of my recent posts click HERE and scroll down.

 

The big news is the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Reports are out on the electrocutions in Iraq and the electrical situation is Afghanistan. There are three full reports.

 

In summary…the DoDIG found KBR responsible in part for the death of SSG Ryan Maseth who was electrocuted in his shower. The DoD is also found responsible for their lack of oversight.

 

If you can get to Ms Sparky I have them all posted. If you can’t click HERE to go to the DoD IG website to download them. They will be the three dated 7/24/2009. If KBR has blocked that site as well, email me and I will send them to you.

 

One would hope the Army CID would be filing criminal charges soon. I hope Fluor, Dyncorp, CSA and every other DoD contractor is taking notice. Unsupervised play time in the “sandbox” is over!

 

I am working on a lawsuits page that will list all the lawsuits against KBR and any suits that KBR has filed with regards to LOGCAP. If you know of a lawsuit filed against KBR shoot me an email. If you can send me a copy of the petition/complaint that would be great.

 

I have also added several new categories including “Indictments, Convictions & Arrests” hopefully we will be getting some more of those with regards to the electrocutions.

 

I am still getting a ton of complaints about CSA in Kuwait. I don’t know what the DCMA is doing down there. But you must contact the DoDIG with EVERY complaint. Click HERE to read about that. So far not too many complaints about Fluor…yet. But I am so afraid the way CSA, Dyncorp and Fluor are sucking up KBR managers that they will be turning into KBR times 3!!

 

I get asked all the time how to report Fraud, Waste and Abuse to the DoD. I have blogged about it before click HERE for that. So many people are afraid to contact their companies own ethics hotline because of threats of retaliation. Please report any retaliation to the DoDIG Hotline as well. If in doubt just report it. Be specific. Don’t use acronyms. The hotline number is open M-F 8-5 EST. Or you can email them anytime.

 

 

 

 

I have been getting some complaints that people are calling in reports and then calling back to follow up and the hotline is claiming they have no record of the call. I strongly suggest that you email the report and make sure you keep a copy for yourself.

 

If you have any information about prostitution rings in the DoD camps in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait or in Dubai, Thailand the Philippines or anywhere else for that matter please email me. You can read my post on that HERE.

 

I have gotten several emails about what is going to happen in Afghanistan with regards to KBR employees and the transition. I recommend you keep doing your job the best you can. Fluor and Dyncorp aren’t keeping me as updated as I would like (sarcasm), but I find it hard to believe they would not pick up many of the craft and people who actually do the work. It just doesn’t make financial or logistical sense to start out at ground zero. It’s the majority of KBR management who need that one way plane ticket to the States. So just be patient and flexible.

 

I know KBR is going to put on the pressure with threats and intimidation. That is their MO. Just be smart! They can still fire you.

 

Also, I am looking for few former O&M crafts. All trades. Shoot me and email. Thanks.

 

If you have questions you can email me by replying to this Update.

 

Be safe!!

 

 

Ms Sparky

(aka Debbie Crawford)