Tag Archive: OSC


I have continued to monitor the frustratingly slow, on again, off again trail of justice for federal Defense Security Service whistleblower, Robert Conley.  Conley, a veteran Industrial Security Representative, employed by DSS, has had to traverse a long hard trail in trying to secure justice against his former employer’s heavy handed disrespect, waste, fraud, abuse, harassment, and retribution for his whistleblowing after he discovered criminal and civil issues concerning a defense contract between a large aerospace contractor and the federal government.

Conley ran into difficulties processing his case report of an investigation, when DSS officials refused to accept the detailed and extensive investigative report he prepared, after Conley was ordered to cut his investigation short and submit his report.  Conley was then ordered to start editing his report.  This occurred several times, each time DSS management insisted he take out more of the documented evidence and testimony, that would make the case prosecutable.

Conley refused to sign the now DSS changed reports, which were, after DSS Headquarters manipulation, fraudulent.  There was a lot of conflict as DSS tried to force Conley to sign the fraudulent report.  Because he could not intimidate Conley into signing the fraudulent report, eventually, the DSS Headquarters manager, Michael McDaniel, signed the fraudulent report himself and then briefed the user agency affected.  Since other parties were aware of the issues that were found with this contract, and what the real problems were, things went downhill from there.  A massive cover-up appeared to be in process regarding the criminal and civil matters discovered that were issues in this contract, and in this investigation.  The DSS manager, Michael McDaniel,  who had apparently written, signed, and briefed the fraudulent report, later left DSS and moved directly to employment with a defense contractor.   (Keep in mind the functional policy of the U.S. Government appears to be, that once someone leaves federal service, they will not go after them in any legal proceedings, nor will they insist they testify in legal proceedings.  If they leave the government, they seem to receive a “get out of jail free card.”)

Conley has endured, along with his counterpart, Randall Kelly,  (who had oversight of the program for the Marine Corps), vast amounts of harassment, retribution, and abuse.  They were both thoroughly beaten down in every way possible by their employers, effectively ending their careers.  They have received massive retribution and abuse for reporting theft and fraud involving a government defense contract.   They even received threats of various kinds, and at least one death threat passed along through channels, which did not deter them from seeking proper legal resolution of their investigation and case.  It has now been fifteen (15) years of struggle with this situation.  (Both were forced into premature retirements eventually, as no support or remedy was offered by any of those government entities who are supposed to help whistleblowers.)

Conley has had to endure a long slow process which included making protected disclosures to various parties, as a part of working through the process of trying to get help and put attention on the attendant problems and alleged criminal activities.  As a part of the process, the DCIS (Defense Criminal Investigative Service) had an open case filed.  This went nowhere fast, and it appeared that a cover-up was likely in progress, as time passed and nothing constructive happened.

Conley then filed a complaint with the DOD OIG.  The DOD OIG had Conley’s complaint and case for an extended period of time.  Much more time passed.  The DOD OIG official in charge, had gone to the Washington DC office of the DCIS in search of Conley’s “then identified as missing” case, and found Conley’s case, with an unworked Congressional Investigation attached, sitting in Director Rick Beltz’s office, in a stack of similarly unworked cases on his desk.  Apparently, cases that for various reasons certain people, or corporations did not wish to see worked, were being held in limbo in that office.  This is absolutely unacceptable, and a betrayal of all integrity that should be demonstrated by federal law enforcement and contract enforcement activities.  So, if any of you filed a case with the DCIS in the past couple of decades or so, and never saw any action or results, you might check to see if your case was one of those held in the derailed pile on the Director’s desk.  I understand Rick Beltz was fired, and the DOD OIG official who was trying to do the right thing was removed from his position and transferred to some other position of less exposure.

The DOD OIG eventually said they would be forwarding the Title 18 Criminal issues to another office for processing.  That did not happen, as it appears the cover-up was put into place on the criminal issues, apparently in an effort to protect the implicated defense contractor.  Conley’s Title 5, Retribution case was upheld by the DOD OIG, whose report concluded he was indeed a whistleblower, and a victim of harassment, retaliation,  and retribution forced on him by the Defense Security Service.  The DOD OIG directed DSS to make Mr. Conley whole.  Director Stanley Sims chose to ignore the report entirely, although he is the Director who received the DOD OIG report.  In fact, he seemed, based on documents uncovered recently, to be enraged that Conley would go to the DOD OIG, and that the DOD OIG would tell the DSS what they can and cannot, will and will not, do and what Sims said in these documents could be construed as threats.

Conley’s case then spent a very long time in waiting with the OSC for them to consider his case.  There again appeared to be a lot of pressure on the investigative agency, this time OSC.  It appears that the corporate defense contractor and some of the implicated parties including within the management levels of DOD,  and possibly the Pentagon itself, have a great deal of influence and are able to intimidate those who are supposed to investigate and assure justice to whistleblowers and others reporting criminal and civil issues that need to be addressed by the legal system.  So, in my opinion, there was something not kosher going on there, and the OSC failed to do their duty regarding this case.

I have been  made aware that a hearing finally is going to take place, under the auspices of an MSPB judge regarding Title 5 issues on Conley’s behalf.

The hearing will take place at the federal courthouse in Seattle, 915 Second Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98101.  I understand it is a public MSPB hearing so if any of you are interested in observing, you may attend.  The hearing is scheduled for two days, Monday, January 25 through Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

There is a long list of witnesses and DSS appears to be making effort not to cooperate, or be accountable for their actions, and their lack of decency with regard to how they treat their employees.  Throughout the past 15 years, a lot of sudden and insufficiently explained changes have occurred in DSS management levels.  Director Stanley Sims, has just left DSS and has gone directly to a lucrative position at a large defense contractor.  Industrial Security Director Richard Lawhorn recently left DSS, and has directly taken a lucrative position at another large defense contractor.

There are regulations governing conflict of interest issues, and that prohibit federal employees and officials from using the revolving door to move directly from government oversight positions to defense contractor corporate jobs, where there might be a conflict of interest.  I believe there are problems with this succession of DSS employees/managers moving directly from DSS to defense contractors.  In fact, I learned that another former DSS Manager, Gregory Gwash, who had left DSS suddenly and directly taken a lucrative position at a large aerospace defense contractor in Seattle a number of years ago, was forced to leave employment with that defense contractor, after a federal AG’s office investigation of his use of the revolving door.   Expect I will be writing about this DSS situation in more detail at a later date.

 

 

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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 know.  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

Chairman Joseph Lieberman
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
340 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Chairman Daniel Akaka
Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal
Workforce, and the District of Columbia
605 Senate Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510

Chairman Edolphus Towns
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Chairman Stephen Lynch
Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia
349A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Re: “FAA Whistleblower Alliance” Urges Strong Oversight of the Office
of Special Counsel

Dear Chairmen Lieberman, Akaka, Towns and Lynch:

The FAA Whistleblower Alliance is a newly-formed group of Federal
Aviation Administration professionals that have been retaliated
against by the FAA for raising concerns about substantial and
specific dangers to aviation safety. This letter urges the committees
that have oversight jurisdiction of the Office of Special Counsel to
enact badly-needed accountability and transparency reforms in the
Office of Special Counsel and Merit Systems Protection Board
Reauthorization law.

Common to our experience in speaking out at the FAA to correct
serious dangers to the flying public is the FAA’s insistence on
ignoring, diminishing, and suppressing the safety concern raised, as
well as the viscous backlash from FAA management in the form of
retaliation. Federal employee whistleblowers are statutorily forced
to bring their retaliation claims to the OSC for relief, rather than
to the public courts, and are systematically denied redress evident
by the OSC’s dismal rate of corrective action. The OSC fails to
fulfill its Congressional mandate of protecting legitimate
whistleblowers. Instead the OSC appears to be following an internal
institutional mandate of closing out cases regardless of genuine
merit. The common experience of the Alliance members, all who have
had or currently have an OSC prohibited personnel practices
complaint, is that OSC consistently fails to do a proper
investigation of claims and to adequately communicate with
whistleblowers during the investigation process. We have attached a
summary of individual Alliance member’s experiences with the OSC.

The FAA Whistleblower Alliance urges Congress to initiate aggressive
oversight of how the OSC has functioned, particularly since former
Special Counsel Scott Bloch’s resignation. Many have attempted to
personify him as the primary cause of the Office’s weakness. But in
our experience, the combination of bureaucratic arrogance and
incompetence has sharply increased since his departure. We hope that
oversight hearings can be scheduled promptly after appointment of a
new Special Counsel, to provide the context and a mandate for
leadership, both in terms of changed practices and accountability for
those who have grossly abused their discretion.

Hearings also are necessary to create a record for provisions in the
upcoming OSC – MSPB Reauthorization bill. To illustrate, the attached
case studies demonstrate that arbitrary practices are the rule,
rather than the exception, necessitating professional regulations as
a standard operating procedure for investigating and acting on
prohibited personnel practice complaints. On occasion, OSC staff even
engaged in retaliatory closeouts, officially canceling investigations
when pressed to communicate about what work, if any, had been
completed. That illustrates our most basic plea — the right to know
what happened to our rights. Although cases are open for extended
periods, we are not allowed to know what evidence, if any, was
gathered. The lack of consistent procedures, communication and
transparency are three strikes for a credible Office of Special
Counsel. Our experiences illustrate that those professional
breakdowns have become the norm.

We thank you for considering our views on the OSC and request the
opportunity to work with your Committees on the OSC – MSPB
Reauthorization bill and the amended Whistleblower Protection Act.
Please contact Gabe Bruno at 407-977-1505 and/or Tom Devine of the
Government Accountability Project at 202-457-0034, ext. 124 with any
follow-up communications.

Sincerely,
Gabriel Bruno, retired Manager, Flight Standards Service,

Mike Cole, active Air Traffic Control, Flight Service Specialist,

Mary Rose Diefenderfer, former Flight Standards Inspector,

Bogdan Dzakovic, former Special Agent/Air Marshal Service, currently with TSA,

Kim Farrington, former Flight Standards, Air Carrier Cabin Safety Inspector,

Edward Jeszka, former Flight Standards Inspector,

Chris Monteleone, active Flight Standards Inspector,

Peter Nesbitt, active Air Traffic Controller,

Geoffrey Weiss, active Air Traffic Controller,

Anne Whiteman, active Air Traffic Control, Front Line Manager

Enclosure

Some of our members wish to keep their names confidential, due to
fear of continued retaliation.

[Any listed affiliation with the FAA or any other federal agency is
listed only for identification purposes. We are speaking in our
capacity as citizens and as part of the FAA Whistleblower Alliance,
and not on behalf of the FAA or any other federal agency.]

The following are short statements from some members of the FAA
Whistleblowers Alliance that characterize their experiences with the
Office of Special Counsel. Further information is available on all of
the cases mentioned. A number of our members decided not to provide
statements at this time because of concerns of retaliation.

Kim Farrington Flight Standards Inspector (removed from service/ in litigation)

I filed an OSC Form 11 on 4-27-08. The Midwest Field Office OSC IPD
attorney did not effectively communicate with me throughout the 10
months my complaint was open. With the exception of an initial intake
interview by an IPD investigator, I was never re-contacted by the OSC
again about the details of my case, the status of the investigation,
or asking for information to rebut the information learned from FAA
before the OCS IPD attorney sent a preliminary determination letter
saying they were going to close out my case. My witnesses I provided
were never contacted by the OSC IPD investigator or attorney. The
preliminary decision letter and final close-out letter stated “based
on our investigation” but did not indicate to me that there had been
an investigation because the information they outlined was only a
restatement of the details I initially provided to them in my
complaint. The final close out letter misstated the law on the job
duties doctrine sweeping in all disclosures of information learned
during my job duties but communicated outside the normal chain of
command. My claim was closed with no corrective action recommended.

Gabe Bruno Flight Standards Manager (retired)
My experience with the Office of Special Counsel began in 2002, when
I filed two safety disclosures about the FAA creating a danger to the
public. It took OSC two years to process these disclosures while the
FAA was taking a series of adverse personnel actions against me. I
requested that OSC file for a “stay” to halt the adverse actions,
including my removal, until my safety disclosures were properly
investigated, but my request was ignored. Ultimately, the OSC
Disclosure Unit found that two of my whistleblower disclosures had a
substantial likelihood finding. The problem was that the FAA never
completed the corrective actions as promised to the OSC, and while no
one was monitoring the FAA’s promises, an aircraft carrying 18
passengers and a crew of two crashed, in 2005, killing all 20 on board.

I also have a Prohibited Personnel Practice complaint with the OSC,
originally filed in 2005 and reopened by Former Special Counsel Scott
Bloch in 2008, because of the retaliatory adverse actions the FAA
took against me. After the case was reopened, the OSC refused to
communicate with me about the status of the investigation or answer
questions posed after the initial interview beyond acknowledging
receipt of my correspondence. The OSC provided me with a letter
stating that the OSC has not completed the investigation after 240
days and I had options regarding extensions to the OSC. My counsel
contacted the attorney on the case to speak about the extension
options, get an update on the investigation to date, and ensure the
prohibited personnel practices were framed correctly for
investigation. The OSC attorney refused to speak to my counsel and
instead sent me a preliminary determination letter that is about to
close my case out. This is troubling because two weeks before I
received the preliminary determination letter I received a letter
stating that the OSC had not completed its investigation.

Geoffrey Weiss Air Traffic Controller (active)
In 2008, I submitted an OSC complaint. My whistleblower disclosure
was found by the OSC Disclosure Unit to have a substantial likelihood
of substantial and specific danger to public safety. My prohibited
personnel practices complaint was assigned to the Midwest Field
Office. The OSC IPD attorney never spoke with me except an
introduction call with the OSC IPD investigator. I provided
documents, witnesses, and other evidence to the OSC IPD investigator
but was never granted the face to face interview I repeatedly
requested to present all my documents for review. The OSC IPD
investigator did call on occasion to ask for clarification but he
never presented me with anything specific provided by the FAA to
refute or verify. I did not hear from the OSC IPD attorney until he
sent a letter proposing that the OSC wanted to drop my complaint
because it could not verify retaliation had taken place. The letter
was full of glaring inaccuracies and seemed to be completed devoid of
any real understanding of the issue and the dynamics of the Air
Traffic portion of the matter. I provided my comments to that
preliminary determination and am awaiting a response. I contacted
some of the witnesses I had provided and was told that they had never
been contacted by the OSC.

Peter Nesbitt Air Traffic Controller (active)
The FAA retaliated against me for disclosing an unsafe practice and
procedure which placed the American flying public at risk with
intersecting flight paths at the Memphis International Airport.
While I have been impressed with OSC personnel within the Disclosure
Unit, I do not believe that the OSC Midwest Field Office thoroughly
investigated my allegations of Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP)
by Memphis FAA Management. During the course of my PPP investigation,
I was verbally informed of the FAA’s position by the OSC — but never
formally informed or allowed to refute the FAA’s position. At the
request of the OSC Midwest Field Office, I provided a list of
approximately 30 co-workers and supervisors as character references
— none of which were ever interviewed. The original OSC investigator
was removed from my case, and it was obvious during my first and only
personal interview with the replacement OSC investigator — that he
did not believe my allegations of retaliation by Memphis FAA Management.
The Midwest Field Office intervened on my behalf during two key
situations, however these interventions came only after I had been
subjected to additional acts of retaliation by Memphis FAA Management
— and only after I demanded that the OSC do something to help me. I
continued to make additional safety disclosures throughout my PPP
investigation, and the FAA eventually informed the OSC that they
wanted to settle my PPP case. Based on conversations with the OSC
attorney who handled my PPP case, it is my belief that the continued
and repeated safety disclosures are what drove the FAA to finally
enter a settlement agreement with me nearly 1.5 years after I filed
my original complaint with the OSC.

Chris Monteleone Flight Standards Inspector (on administrative leave)
On April 16, 2008 I filed OSC prohibited personnel practices
complaint and whistleblower disclosure case and was assigned to the
Washington DC Field Office. I was retaliated against for reporting
safety violations related to Colgan Air and the Office of Runway
Safety. Meanwhile, Colgan Air 3407 (operating as Continental) crashed
on February 12, 2009 killing on 49 on board and 1 on the ground, in
Buffalo, New York. I have not been informed of whether they have
interviewed my witnesses or the status of the investigation. I have
also not been notified about any FAA responses or provided with the
opportunity to rebut the responses.

Anne Whiteman Air Traffic Control, Front Line Manager (active)
OSC investigated my PPP case for 5 years. Scott Bloch sent a letter
to the Secretary of the DOT asking for compensation for the 10-year
vendetta against me. He gave them two weeks to respond and that was
the summer of 2007. Nothing came of it. During the course of their 5
year investigation, I would have to say that the OSC was always
disturbed by the way I was being treated at work, but I was never
protected. Not once did anyone at the OSC, to my knowledge make any
contact with anyone at FAA and DFW in an effort to protect me. During
the original “investigation” quite a few people were interviewed and
ultimately a report was issues, but only one person from the list I
gave them was contacted. I received a letter every 60 days for years
informing me my case was in their prosecution division. When I
started to fear termination I hired an attorney for my protection and
upon filing with the MSPB the OSC sent me a letter informing me my
case was closed. I as grateful for Scott Bloch’s support and his
efforts to effect change in the FAA and at DFW specifically, but the
OSC as a whole was ineffective in protecting me.

Mary Rose Diefenderfer Flight Standards Inspector (removed from
service/in litigation)
Mary Rose was the POI for Alaska Airlines and predicted that Alaska
Airlines was about to have a tragedy, before she was removed from her
position. At least 88 families wish someone had listened to her. Her
prohibited personnel practices case has been going on for 11 years
and is currently at the Federal Court level. Her first exposure to
the OSC was in 1994 when she was removed from her position for
reporting falsification of pilot training records at a major carrier.
The OSC was helpful and responsive in communicating with her and Mary
Rose got her position back. Then in 1997, Mary Rose was removed from
her reinstated position for reporting the same problem. The OSC took
corrective action but Mary Rose lost at the MSPB level with an AJ
that had never ruled in favor of employee as a MPSB judge.

Edward Jeszka Flight Standards Inspector (retired)
I was retaliated against after I submitted a complaint to the
Department of Transportation Inspection General about the
circumstances surrounding a false accident report. I filed a
prohibited personnel practices complaint with the OSC. I have been
told that the OSC is reviewing my submittal but as I am now retired
there wasn’t any personnel action taken as a result of my complaint
to the DOT IG. However, the FAA is attempting to revoke my pilot
certificates and the OSC IDP attorney does not think that is an
action that would qualify this as retaliation. I have submitted
additional information and am now in the process of assembling three
years of documents and statements that will show prohibited personnel
practices.

Mike Cole Air Traffic Control, Flight Service Specialist (active)
In December 2007, I was retaliated against for reporting safety
issues involving air carriers. I filed an OSC prohibited personnel
practice complaint and a whistleblower disclosure. The OSC attorney
on my whistleblower disclosure appears to have no knowledge of Air
Traffic and does not communicate with me adequately. The Disclosure
Unit found evidence of that there are safety issues and requested FAA
OIG investigate. The request for the FAA OIG to investigate omitted
many of my concerns. The OSC IDP investigator and attorney did not
effectively communicate with me and closed out my prohibited practice
case without an adequate investigation into my complaint.

Bogdan Dzakovic TSA, Former FAA Red Team Security Leader
I filed a Whistleblower Disclosure against the FAA with the OSC in
October of 2001, concerning the dangerous culture of mismanagement
within FAA Security and which contributed directly to the ease with
which the terrorists successfully attacked on 9-11. The
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) formally took over
operational responsibility of Aviation Security in February of 2002.
That same week the OSC formally (and publicly) accepted my case for
further investigation. The very first week of TSA’s existence, TSA
took away ALL my job duties which lasted for an entire year. A short
time later the OSC- sponsored a mediation session between myself and
TSA and, while the OSC didn’t explicitly state it, the results of
this “mediation” was that I should be grateful still have a job and
am being paid. That was the extent of the OSC’s protection of my
rights. I spent most of the following year assigned to this
night-shift telephone operator position when in late 2003 I was
transferred to an entry level staff position at TSA headquarters,
where I remain.

Here is a thoughtful piece by Joe Carson.  Enjoy…

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

SEC dysfunction follows meltdown in legal ethics at US Office of Special Counsel

February 6, 2009

Mr. Philip Michael
Troutman Sanders
Attorney for Harry Markopolos
NY, NY
<philip.michael@ troutmansanders. com>

Ms. Gaytri Kachroo
McCarter and English
Attorney for Harry Markopolos
Boston, MA
<gkachroo@mccarter. com>

Attention: Harry Markopolos

Subject: US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) lawbreaking and SEC’s dysfunction

Dear Mr. Markopolos,

I read your written statement and watched an archive of Wednesday’s
Congressional hearing, available at
<http://www.house. gov/apps/ list/hearing/ financialsvcs_ dem/hr020409. shtml>.
We have similarities in putting the public good before our private
interest in defending our respective professions, their codes of
ethics, and the public good. We are also both extremely tenacious
and not without cunning.

But, your analysis of what is wrong and why at SEC is incomplete,
therefore your prescription to correct it is
inadequate. Why? Employees at SEC, as other federal agencies, are
to comply with the “merit principles” of the federal civil service in
the performance of their duties (see 5 USC 2301). They did not do so
in dealing with your disclosures about Madoff, which is why you
experienced so much dysfunctionality.

Why not? The reason is because they have no viable protection from
SEC’s violations of those merit principles against them (technically
called “prohibited personnel practices (PPP’s),” listed at 5 USC
2302). SEC employees have to walk around their offices, finger in
the wind and hands on their wallets asking “is it safe for me and my
career to do my duty in this situation?” That is the reality of
working at SEC C(as other gov’t agencies).

Why do they have no viable protection? Because the federal law
enforcement agency specifically created to enforce the laws to
protect federal employees from such agency lawbreaking – the US
Office of Special Counsel (OSC) – is a 30 year lawbreaking failure,
corrupt and corrupting. It was created to be the immune system of
the federal civil service, because it is so corrupt it allows
corruption and dysfunction to take root and flourish in many federal
workplaces, such as SEC.
Why has OSC’s lawbreaking gone on for so long? Follow the money,
lots of people and special interests benefit from it, making them
“willfully blind” to it, just like the Madoff feeder funds.

Your testimony specifically called for protection for Ed Manion from
SEC reprisal, so he could testify to Congress. Well, OSC is the
federal law enforcement agency responsible to protect federal
employees from agency reprisal for testifying to Congress.

Your prescription for reforming SEC presumes SEC employees, with
adequate training, tools, and professional credentials, could and
would then do their jobs without fear or favor, ethically and
competently to protect the investor. That prescription is based a
false presumption.

OSC’s lawbreaking failure to protect SEC (as other federal employees)
from agency lawbreaking, taken to punish federal employees who put
the public interest before the private interests of their managers,
invalidates your prescription. Nothing would necessarily change at
SEC if it followed your prescription – Ed Manion (and Mike Garrity)
is proof of that. He has the experience, training, and professional
credentials. He knew Madoff was a fraudster. He knew you were being
blown off by SEC attorneys. So Why did he not go to SEC IG? Why did
he not go to OSC (via its protected disclosure channel, per 5 USC
1213)? Why did he not go to Congress? Why did he not go to
media? You know as well as I – he was afraid of SEC reprisal, and
rightfully so, a result of OSC’s long-standing systemic lawbreaking
and corruption.

Why has OSC been so corrupt for so long? Because another
self-regulating entity – the legal profession – “looks other way” at
significant deficiencies in scope and implementation of legal ethics
for government attorneys. Want proof? It seems to me that your
attorneys should be advising you to file professional ethics
complaints against the SEC attorneys who were derelict in their duty
in not pursuing your allegations. But I doubt they will do so. Why
not? They likely cite some obscure aspect of legal ethics – you
know, its “code of silence” – about attorneys not blowing whistles on
other attorneys’ professional malfeasance, regardless of how it has
harmed people like you. After all, SEC attorney malfeasance results
in your hiring them in the first place.

By law (5 USC 1201 statutory note, citing the Federal Whistleblower
Protection Act of 1989), OSC is mandated to “act in the interests” of
the federal employees who seek its protection from agency lawbreaking
against them. It is small, about 110 employees, of whom half are
attorneys. These attorneys are “caseworker” attorneys, they do not
have an attorney-client relationship with the federal employees they
are responsible to protect from agency lawbreaking. That means they
consider OSC to be their client. Since legal ethics is focused on
“holding paramount” the interests of the attorney’s client, these OSC
attorneys reason that since they are not implementing the law they
are responsible to implement, their primary professional duty as
attorneys is to cover-up their and OSC’s lawbreaking. And the legal
profession says “that’s right.”

Bottom line, the legal profession says “free pass” to government
attorneys who betray their oaths as attorneys and federal employees
in not executing the laws they are responsible to implement – at SEC,
OSC and elsewhere. Until that is fixed, passing laws to make such
agencies do their jobs is futile – the responsible attorneys can
continue to thumb their noses at those laws and the legal profession
will continue to say “free pass.”

If only one of the responsible attorneys at SEC for blowing you off
was disciplined, in any way, by the legal profession, SEC would
change, overnight, forever. No one like you would ever be blown off
again – the responsible SEC attorneys would know they could be held
professionally accountable as attorneys, instead of being promoted
and protected for being their SEC attorney fraudsters as Linda Thompson.

I appreciate and respect your courage and self-sacrifice. I’m former
military too – a nuclear submarine officer for 6 years. By dint of
16 years of defending and upholding my profession of engineering, its
code of ethics, and the public health and safety, I am now an
influential member of mankind’s largest and most global profession of
engineering, whose 20 million degreed members worldwide collectively
hold civilization and much of the natural environment in their
hands. But until legal ethics for government attorneys is cleaned
up, engineering ethics will always be imperiled. Ditto professional
ethics for financial professionals.

Respectfully,

Joe Carson, PE
“multiple-time” prevailing government whistleblower <www.carsonversusdo e.com>
Chair, OSC Watch <www.oscwatch. org>
President, Affiliation of Christian Engineers <www.christianengin eer.org>
Chair, Vols4STEM Steering Committee <www.Vols4STEM. org>
and a political spouse! <www.carson08. com>

 

Whistle-Muting?

 

Link to original:  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/government-inc/2008/10/whistle-muting.html

 

Office of Special Counsel chief Scott Bloch has resigned after much turmoil, following months of pressure to give up his post as the government’s putative advocate and investigator of whistle blower complaints.

Bloch bailed out under pressure from the White House five months after the FBI raided his house and government office as part of an obstruction of justice probe, according to a piece by The Post’s Carrie Johnson.

Bloch set a peculiar tone for his office, claiming to be a dedicated protector of government employees who speak out about fraud, waste and abuse of tax dollars, even as he fell under scrutiny himself. He is under investigation on allegations that he retaliated against whistleblowers in his own office and then tried to hide the evidence, allegations he has denied.

Even his depature this week was unusual. In his resignation letter, he suggested he was the victim of people who didn’t like what he had to say.

“‘No one likes the bearer of bad news’ wrote the Greek poet Sophocles,” his resignation letter to the president begins.

Critics aren’t buying that suggestion, though. Among them is Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, which has been examining the office for several years.

“This is a victory for federal workers. It would have been obscene for this man to be able to walk away under his own terms,” she said in a statement. “He has left the agency in shambles. It will take a lot of work to repair the damage Bloch caused. It will also be necessary to fix the systemic flaws which have long hampered its effectiveness.”

 

Workers Applaud Special Counsel’s Return to Private Sector

 

Link to original:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/21/AR2008102102572_pf.html

 

By Joe Davidson
Wednesday, October 22, 2008; D04

The reaction from leaders of organizations that work with federal employees to the announced resignation of Scott J. Bloch, the besieged U.S. special counsel, can be summed up in two words:

Good riddance.

“Mr. Bloch destroyed the credibility of the Office of Special Counsel,” said Mark Roth, general counsel of the American Federation of Government Employees. “He committed more prohibited personnel practices in the unwarranted purge of numerous OSC [Office of Special Counsel] career staffers than he deterred.

“We look forward to Mr. Bloch returning and staying in the private sector.”

Bloch resigned, effective Jan. 5, in a letter to President Bush on Monday. In it, Bloch praised his own leadership, saying the agency “has made unprecedented progress in eliminating case backlogs left by previous administrations.”

The office describes its mission as “protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing.” Bloch alluded only obliquely to his troubles in office, telling Bush: “As you well know, doing the right thing can result in much criticism and controversy from every side.”

In Bloch’s case, every side includes the FBI, which raided his home and office in May. The bureau reportedly is investigating accusations that Bloch politicized his office.

“His term has been marked by continuing controversies, including claims by his own employees that he has violated the very laws the OSC is charged with enforcing,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.

In his letter, Bloch takes credit for increasing “our caseload capacity, resulting in a 400 percent increase in substantiated whistleblower disclosures and stepped up enforcement of job rights for military service members.”

Yet, at least one whistleblower and an organization that works closely with them couldn’t be happier to see Bloch go.

“Dedicated federal workers have been left to hang without a protector on their side,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. “We are not sorry to see this pathetic chapter close.”

Neither is Howard Floch, a surgeon who said he was fired by the Department of Veterans Affairs after he protested to Bloch’s office about “what passed for medical care” at a VA hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va.

“They certainly don’t protect whistleblowers. This is well known. . . . . ” Floch complained. “Anybody who becomes a whistleblower under the current system is out of his mind.”

OSC spokesman Anthony Guglielmi wouldn’t discuss details of Floch’s case. Guglielmi said Bloch was unavailable for comment, but added that “our staff works really hard to protect the merit system.”

Those representing workers in the merit system have a dramatically different view.

The special counsel’s office “is supposed to be the first line of defense to protect federal employees from prohibited personnel practices, but over the last five years the OSC has ignored its statutory mission,” said Richard N. Brown, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees. “Federal employees have not been getting the protection they need and deserve. Under his tenure, federal employees have had little faith in their guaranteed protections.”

In defense of employees at the agency, James Mitchell, who was suddenly fired as Bloch’s chief of staff just before Labor Day, said they have tried, with great frustration, to carry out its mission while “in the middle of Hurricane Scott.”

Honored for Good Work

While many cheered Bloch’s resignation, another group of government watchdogs were celebrated for doing good work.

More than 95 workers from the inspectors general community were honored, as the Marine Band played rousing patriotic music, during a program at the ornate Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue.

Paul Converse, an auditor assigned to an inspector general’s office in Iraq, was given a special recognition posthumously, the Sentner Award for Dedication and Courage.

Auditors are often thought of as bean counters who face no danger greater than paper cuts and terrible tedium.

But Converse was in Baghdad’s Green Zone when that place of supposed safety came under fire. He died March 24.

He was remembered as a “man of integrity, diligence and compassion.”

Contact Joe Davidson atfederaldiary@washpost.com

 

OSC Chief Scott Bloch

Made Subordinates Post

Online Rebuttals to News

 Stories

[ who impersonated military combat veterans ]

By Dan Friedman

June 13, 2008

Scott Bloch, the embattled head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, whose office and home federal agents raided last month, has faced a lot of bad publicity. And he evidently doesn’t like it.

On many occasions since 2006, Bloch ordered a subordinate to post comments on blogs and in the “comment” sections of online news stories using a pseudonym, current and former OSC employees told CongressDaily.

The postings have defended Bloch against online articles and comments by readers that he has perceived as negative, the sources said.

“That did go on,” said a former employee who has been involved in the activity. “Bloch would suggest posting things in the comments section. … There’d be a negative article about Scott’s involvement on something … and [the] comment would be something like ‘This Bloch guy is doing a good job.”

Two former OSC employees have gone so far as to describe Bloch as thin-skinned and “obsessed” with his press coverage.

A federal grand jury is investigating whether Bloch obstructed justice by destroying files sought by the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general, who was looking into allegations that Bloch improperly retaliated against OSC employees for opposing his policies.

The former OSC employee familiar with the anonymous postings on Bloch’s behalf was recently interviewed by FBI agents gathering evidence for the grand jury probe, but said the agents did not ask about the issue.

Roscoe Howard, an attorney representing Bloch, said Bloch would not comment due to the continuing criminal probe. An OSC spokesman said Bloch was unavailable Thursday.

The former OSC employee, who described the Web posting operation in exchange for anonymity, said such instances might have numbered in “the double digits.” Bloch “would be involved in the discussion of what should be said,” the employee said.

The employee suggested at least one OSC worker posted comments on the Web sites of such publications as the Washington Post, Topeka Capital-Journal, and the Lawrence Journal World. The two Kansas-based publications have written about Bloch because he is from the state.

In another instance confirmed by CongressDaily, an OSC employee who has not served in the military identified himself as “A Combat Vet” in an online response to a July 13, 2007, article on GovernmentExecutive.com. In the article, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Republicans faulted Bloch for his use of personal e-mail to discuss agency business.

The anonymous posting said news organizations were devoting too little coverage to OSC’s enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which bars discrimination against people based on service in the armed services.

“Where is the coverage of USERRA?” the posting asked. “OSC helped my buddy out when he couldn’t get his job back, and it doesn’t seem like anybody is checking into how it helps veterans. … Who the hell cares if Bloch sent an email about congresscritters goofing off and playing pattycake. This USERRA issue is a huge deal for us who served. Does anyone give a crap?”

At the time, public affairs officials at OSC, which enforces federal workplace rights, were urging reporters to cover USERRA enforcement cases.

During the hearing described in the article, House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Tom Davis, citing an e-mail Bloch had sent, accused him of acting inappropriately in distributing to several people news articles about OSC investigations of federal officials.

Davis offered similar criticism Thursday.

“A public official should be accountable to the public.” Davis said in a statement. “To secretly use the resources and personnel of his office — on government time — to comment on negative press reports is improper and deprives the public of accountability.

“If true, this could constitute an unlawful use of appropriated funds to publish covert propaganda,” Davis said. “This is further evidence that Scott Bloch is unfit for his office and should resign, be fired or at least be placed on administrative leave.”

Davis added that he would ask House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman “to initiate an investigation into this activity.”

http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0608/061308cdam1.htm

Press Release

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 5, 2005
Contact: Chas Offutt (202) 265-7337

WHISTLEBLOWERS GET NO HELP FROM BUSH ADMINISTRATION
Record Numbers Are Blowing the Whistle but Fewer Cases Investigated

Washington, DC — The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the agency that is supposed to protect federal employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse, is dismissing hundreds of cases while advancing almost none, according an analysis of the latest agency figures released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Despite record numbers of federal employees filing whistleblower disclosures and complaints of retaliation, there are fewer investigations and a much greater likelihood that those who blow the whistle will be silenced.

Scott Bloch, the Bush appointed Special Counsel has been in office for nearly two years, during which time positive results for whistleblowers have plummeted. Even though the first quarter of FY 2006 is almost over, last week Bloch finally posted his annual report for FY 2004 on the OSC website, without any public announcement and nearly a year late. The overdue report’s contents explain its tardiness:

• Less than 1.5% of whistleblower disclosures of problems were even referred for investigation while more than 1,000 employee reports of waste, fraud and abuse were closed by Bloch’s staff on the grounds that they were not worthy of further review; and

• Only eight whistleblower disclosures were substantiated (none were found to be unsubstantiated) during Bloch’s first year but, according to the OSC report, the most significant cases involved theft of a desk and attendance violations.

“With Scott Bloch at the helm, the Office of Special Counsel is acting as a Plumber’s Unit for the Bush administration, plugging leaks, blocking investigations and discrediting sources,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Under Bloch, political appointees, not civil servants, decide which cases go forward and which cases are round filed.”

Those whistleblowers who claimed to suffer retaliation for making reports fared even worse:

• Favorable outcomes declined sharply (24%) under Bloch even though there were more cases;

• The only favorable outcomes were in cases where the offending agency agreed to make changes. In no case did Bloch litigate directly on behalf of a whistleblower; and

• More than nine out of ten surveyed employees were dissatisfied with the effectiveness of OSC, with more than three in four classifying themselves as “very dissatisfied.”

“If the Special Counsel were a private business it would have to close its doors,” Ruch added, noting that pending reform legislation allows whistleblowers greater freedom to directly advocate their cases. “Bloch’s abysmal performance raises serious questions about whether the Office of Special Counsel should be abolished altogether.”

###

See the belated OSC FY 2004 Report to Congress

Review the poor track record of Scott Bloch

 

 

 

Ph: (202) 265-7337 • Fax: (202) 265-4192 • email: info@peer.org
all content © peer.org 2005

 

 

 

Hundreds of Whistleblower Cases Dismissed Improperly, Group Charges

by Brendan Coyne

Dec. 6, 2005 – Amid growing charges that various federal agencies are acting illegally, the office responsible for investigating many such allegations made by government employees released its 2004 report a year late and with no public announcement.

According to the 2004 report of the United States Office of Special Counsel, only a handful of the nearly 1,200 employee reports of waste, fraud and abuse on the Office?s schedule at the start of 2004 were deemed worthy of further investigation. Of those investigated, the office found only eight to have merit.

The Office received almost 2,000 new complaints during 2004 and referred 244 for investigation, closing 1,799 within 240 days of receiving them, the report noted. There were 653 complaints carried over from 2003.

In a statement released yesterday, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) alleged that Scott Bloch, the office?s head and a political appointee of the Bush administration, has been sweeping serious complaints under the rug at the behest of White House officials. For more than a year, PEER has been attacking Bloch over similar concerns, including charges that he conducted a purge of Special Counsel workers for whistle-blowing activities of their own.

“With Scott Bloch at the helm, the Office of Special Counsel is acting as a plumber?s unit for the Bush administration, plugging leaks, blocking investigations and discrediting sources,” PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said in the statement. “Under Bloch, political appointees, not civil servants, decide which cases go forward and which cases are round filed.”

The OSC report begins with two pages of Bloch?s biography and a laundry list of his accomplishments at the helm of the Office.

It does not include information about the controversy surrounding his management of the office. As reported by The NewStandard in April 2004, Bloch first made waves when he decreed that sexual orientation would no longer be considered “protected conduct” for government employees. The move was condemned by lawmakers and, eventually, President Bush. A year later, critics charge, Bloch attempted to orchestrate a virtual purge of the Washington, DC office by forcing senior staffers to transfer to regional branches purportedly created for just that purpose. That move is now under investigation by a separate agency, the Office of Personnel Management.

Of most concern to PEER and the whistleblowers whose complaints went uninvestigated is the fact that Bloch cleared out a huge backlog of complaints, mostly by dismissing investigations without seeking further information from the whistleblower who filed the claim in question, a fact he cited as evidence of the good work the Office of Special Counsel was doing under his command in a letter to Representative Henry Waxman (D-California) earlier this year. PEER obtained and released the letter in February.

© 2005 The NewStandard. All rights reserved. The NewStandard is a non-profit publisher that encourages noncommercial reproduction of its content. Reprints must prominently attribute the author and The NewStandard, hyperlink to http://newstandardnews.net (online) or display newstandardnews.net (print), and carry this notice. For more information or commercial reprint rights, please see the TNS reprint policy.

The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Danielle Brian or Beverley Lumpkin, 202-347-1122

 

POGO REVEALS INTERNAL OSC DOCUMENT

SHOWS BLOCH MISUSED OWN TASK FORCE

 

Washington, D.C. – An extraordinary document obtained by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) from inside the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) reveals that Special  Counsel Scott Bloch created a special task force to investigate sensitive and high-profile matters and then ignored virtually every recommendation made by it.  The document lends support to POGO’s theory that Bloch used the task force to launch an investigation of the White House, issuing demands for documents termed by his own task force as “overly broad,” to create the appearance of a conflict of interest with an ongoing investigation into allegations that Bloch himself had engaged in misconduct.

 

“With this deeply troubling new evidence of Bloch’s misuse of his office POGO now believes the President has more than ample cause to fire Bloch immediately, said Danielle Brian ,” Executive Director, POGO.

 

The 13-page memo from the task force, dated January 18, 2008, is entitled “Summary of Task Force Activities and Recommendations.” (http://pogoarchives.org/m/wi/osc-tf-summary-20080118.pdf)  It reveals that Bloch countermanded virtually every recommendation made by his own team; if they recommended pursuing a matter, he ordered them to stop, and if they advised that they lacked either jurisdiction or evidence to proceed, he ordered them to go forward.

 

Here are some examples gleaned from the memo:

 

·        Regarding the White House Office of Political Affairs (OPA), the task force examined allegations that 25 federal agencies had received political briefings that might have violated the Hatch Act, which bans the use of government resources to promote or oppose a political party or candidate.  But as the investigators proceeded, sending requests for documents to the agencies and the White House, they received a stream of new directions from Bloch that kept expanding the focus of the inquiry.  In the memo, the task force finally exclaimed:  “{TF expressed concerns that this request is too broad and may exceed OSC’s jurisdiction} (Emphasis in original.)  When the task force recommended ways to narrow the scope of the investigation, they were denied.  When they drafted a subpoena to the Republican National Committee, Bloch ordered it be expanded to include ten new topics.

 

·        At the time of the firings of U.S. Attorneys by the Justice Department, former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias filed a complaint with OSC charging a Hatch Act violation.  Bloch ordered the task force to broaden their probe to include all nine of the fired U.S. Attorneys.  Amid Justice Department requests that OSC suspend its inquiry, and task force protestations that there was no evidence to support the theory of a Hatch Act violation – which only applies to Executive branch influence, and Iglesias had complained of interference from Members of Congress – Bloch refused to suspend his inquiry.

 

·        After Justice Department officials testified before Congress about having considered job applicants’ political affiliations in hiring and promotion decisions, the task force recommended that “this case be opened immediately and that the [task force] investigate whether individuals at DOJ committeed any PPPs [prohibited personnel practices] when they took political affiliation into consideration when hiring and making other personnel decisions.”  Prohibited personnel practices are within the clear jurisdiction of the OSC; nevertheless, Bloch nine days later directed the task force “not to open or investigate allegations concerning DOJ political hiring practices.”  Four months later, the task force was permitted to open a file, but “no other activity or devotion of resources authorized at this time.”

 

In additional cases involving the possibility of politically-tainted prosecutions, a voter fraud case, and the concoction of a new case against former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan, and others, Bloch mostly contradicts the advice of his hand-picked task force.

 

POGO, along with the Government Accountability Project and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, has been calling for Bloch’s removal from office for more than three years. (http://www.pogo.org/p/government/OSCcompendium.html)  In fact, the current federal investigation of Bloch’s alleged misconduct, which reached a significant new phase yesterday with the execution of search warrants at both his home and office, was launched in response to POGO’s and the other groups’ complaint. 

 

###

 

 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight is an independent nonprofit which investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.