Tag Archive: Scott Bloch


Someone sent me this comment regarding the Scott Bloch travesty.  -GFS

No one in Washington wants this person to do any serious time. He may get upset and start pointing fingers at who, within our government retaliates against the Federal workers. Congress certainly does not want Whistle Blowers to have protections because the minute they are protected, the floodgates open and the citizenry would then find out who the real crooks are.

 It is only common sense, the politicians must prevent the American public from knowing what they have always suspected, and that is that members of Congress are there for the Graft, Greed and Corruption. Punishing one of their own, like Scott Bloch of the Office of Special Counsel, who so loyally and successfully protected the guilty for all those years, would just not be in the best interest of the members of Congress. 

 –Disgusted in DC

 ———————————————————————————————————————————– 

National Whistleblowers Center

3238 P Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20007

http://www.whistleblowers.org 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903

lmw@whistleblowers.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Former Special Counsel Sentenced to One Month in Prison

 

Washington, D.C. March 31, 2011. Scott Bloch, the former head of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), was sentenced to one month in prison, twelve months probation and 200 hours of community service yesterday, after he pled guilty to criminal charges for his misconduct during is tenure at OSC. 

During FY 2008, of the 530 new whistleblower disclosures brought to the OSC, just 25 were reported to the President and Congress, meaning 95% of whistleblower disclosures brought to the OSC were ignored with no determination ever made on their validity. More “highlights” on Mr. Bloch’s tenure at the OSC can be found at civilservicechange.org, courtesy of Charlotte Yee.

Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, said:

Instead of deterring fraud, which was his job as the head of the Office of Special Counsel, Scott Bloch promoted it. This will ultimately cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars. It is a shame that Mr. Bloch has been given nothing more than a slap on the wrist for his crimes, while true whistleblowers such as Bradley Birkenfeld are ostracized and imprisoned.

It has now been over two years since President Obama made a campaign promise to appoint a strong advocate for whistleblowers as the new Special Counsel. The National Whistleblowers Center repeats our call for the immediate appointment of someone who is aggressive, competent, independent and will change the culture of the OSC and stand behind whistleblowers.

Links:

“Highlighting the Accomplishments of Scott Bloch” (Charlotte Yee)

http://civilservicechange.org/?p=2952

Highlighting the accomplishments of Scott Bloch, former head of the Office of Special Counsel

Posted in July 19th, 2010

by C Yee in Absurd, Accountability, Current Events, Merit Systems Protection Board Statistics

Tomorrow, Scott Bloch, former head of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), is scheduled to be sentenced before Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson. Bloch has pleaded guilty to one count of criminal contempt of Congress for not disclosing the nature and extent of his instructions that a private company erase files from his government-issued computer and the computers of two other Office of Special Counsel employees. As this ominous day approaches, from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel Fiscal year 2008 Annual Report, here are some highlights of Bloch’s five-year OSC career:

During his tenure, Scott Bloch reduced total matters pending at OSC by 56 percent. Statistical analysis indicates he accomplished this by having his agency throw out matters without investigating them. In Fiscal Year 2008, of 2,447 Prohibited Personnel Practice (PPP) Complaints, OSC referred six percent of them to the Complaints Examining Unit (CEU). Of these, only 88 were processed. Prohibited Personnel Practice Complaints made up 67 percent of total matters, yet only 88 of 2,447, four percent were processed by investigators.

In FY 2008, OSC obtained zero stays from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the quasi-judicial agency tasked with enforcing federal civil service law. In the same year, OSC filed zero corrective action petitions with MSPB.

On whistleblower disclosure activity, OSC received 530 new disclosures in FY 2008. Of these, 25 were reported to the President and Congress. That’s less than five percent that were investigated and any determination made on disclosure validity. Looking at it another way, 95 percent of whistleblower disclosures were not acknowledged by OSC.

That then, explains the record low satisfaction ratings OSC garnered in its survey of customers. Of those that responded to its survey, only 1 out of every 21 respondents obtained a satisfactory result from OSC. Moreover, more than half of respondents indicated that their complaint included allegations of whistleblowing. On a five-point scale, 200 of 220 rated OSC’s results as either dissatisfactory or very dissatisfactory.

As Scott Bloch heads for sentencing tomorrow, he leaves behind innocent victims sentenced to reprisal by his failure to protect those he was tasked to serve. Additionally, as Special Counsel William E. Reukauf’s message from OSC’s Annual Report reads, “FY 2008 was a challenging time for this small, but important, agency. Employees were called upon to respond to and cooperate with two extensive inquiries involving the then-agency head, including a grand jury investigation, and execution of search warrants on agency premises.”

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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

*******

 

Monday, July 26, 2010

DoD Hotline:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely

G. Florence Scott

 

*******

 

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

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

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

GFS

 *******

Reader’s Comment:

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

Anonymous Contributor

Office of Special Counsel (OSC) – the dark legacy

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

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

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

The legacy of failure

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

Knowingly and willfully ignoring whistleblower disclosures;

Dismissing and closing hundreds of whistleblowing complaints without investigation;

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

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

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

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

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

Intimidating OSC employees from cooperating with government investigators;

Misusing prosecutorial power for political purposes;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OSC’s dark history

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

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

The dog-gone mind behind the plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fred Malek, Then and Now

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

Fred Malek, a Dog and the SEC

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Kozinski and the Malek Manual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Office of Special Counsel’s War On Whistleblowers

United States Office of Special Counsel

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

Uncertain future

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

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

Link to original: 

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

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

Former Bush Appointee to Plead Guilty to Contempt of Congress

Thursday 22 April 2010

by: Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Report

A former Bush administration official who headed an obscure office within the White House that protects whistleblowers and enforces anti-discrimination laws was charged Thursday with criminal contempt of Congress.

Scott Bloch, director of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) from 2004 to 2008, withheld “pertinent” information from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which had been investigating allegations he abused his position and destroyed evidence, according to court papers filed in US District Court in Washington, DC.

Bloch failed to answer truthfully questions raised by Congressional investigators about why he hired the private computer company, Geeks on Call, to “scrub” his office computer and the computers of two OSC employees during the height of an investigation into allegations he retaliated against employees and dismissed whistleblower cases without fully examining them.

“On or about December 6, 2007, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (“House Oversight Committee”), requested that defendant Bloch provide a transcribed interview regarding his reported use of the private computer repair company Geeks On Call to delete files on OSC-issued computers in or about December of 2006 using a process known as a ‘seven level wipe,'” according to a two-page court filing known as an “information,” which is released publicly when a person under investigation is about to plead guilty to charges.

Bloch told Congressional investigators he had no intention of destroying governmental information from the computers. Rather, he told The Wall Street Journal in an interview three years ago that he called private computer technicians to his office on December 18 and December 21, 2006 because he was trying to “eradicate a virus that had seized control of his computer.”

A receipt reviewed by the Journal said “the total charge was $1,149,” which Bloch paid for using his government credit card. But the receipt didn’t mention a computer virus.

According to Thursday’s court filing, federal prosecutors did not believe Bloch’s story and concluded that he “unlawfully and willfully did make default by refusing and failing to state fully and completely the nature and extent of his instructions that Geeks On Call perform ‘seven level wipes’ on his OSC-issued computers as well as the OSC-issued computers of two non-career OSC appointees in or about December of 2006.”

Debra S. Katz, an attorney who represents organizations that provide support to whistleblowers, said she was not satisfied with the outcome of the case.

“After five years of obstructing this investigation, destroying evidence and retaliating against his own conscientious employees, he is now going to be permitted to plead guilty to one misdemeanor; that’s not sufficient,” Katz told The Associated Press. Still, Katz noted, “the inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management – which has been investigating this for five years -will now be in a position to issue its investigative report on Scott Bloch’s misconduct.”

Federal law enforcement agents raided Bloch’s home and office in May 2008 and seized computer files and documents. At the time, he was under investigation by the inspector general in the White House’s Office of Personnel Management.

According to a February 2007 report in The Washington Post, Bloch was accused of retaliating “against underlings who disagreed with his policies – by, among other means, transferring them out of state – and tossed out legitimate whistle-blower cases to reduce the office backlog.”

“Since he took the helm in 2004, staffers at the OSC, a small agency of about 100 lawyers and investigators, have accused him of a range of offenses, from having an anti-gay bias to criticizing employees for wearing short skirts and tight pants to work,” the Post reported.

While Bloch was under scrutiny, he had also been handed the task of investigating the role Karl Rove played in the firing of former New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias, one of nine federal prosecutors fired in December 2006.

Iglesias filed a Hatch Act complaint in April 2007 with Bloch’s office, alleging Rove and other top Bush administration officials may have broken the law by orchestrating his firing because he refused to initiate politically motivated prosecutions.

The complaint was dismissed. Bloch was forced to resign in October 2008.

Last September, Talking Points Memo reported that Bloch received a law license in 2008 “after the staff of a DC court didn’t notice that he is under criminal investigation by the FBI – and failed to flag that fact to the Committee on Admissions, despite extensive documentation provided by Bloch.”

Since Bloch’s resignation, the OSC has been without a leader. President Barack Obama has not appointed anyone to head the office, despite a campaign pledge to fill the vacancy with a staunch advocate for whistleblowers’ rights.

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

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. 

 

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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.