Scott Bloch is the “Mike Brown” of the government’s whistleblower protection agency, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Since being appointed head of the agency, he “cleaned house” of career employees whose “loyalty” he doubted, inappropriately steered contracts to friends and cronies, interfered with politically-sensitive investigations, closed hundreds of whistleblower files summarily without investigation, and unilaterally re-interpreted his responsibilities so that they better fit his personal views. Along the way, he publicly made disparaging remarks about “leakers,” even though it is his job to protect the federal government’s whistleblowers. As a result, Bloch has been a lightening rod for the news media, Republicans and Democrats in the Congress, whistleblower attorneys, and good government groups.
It’s difficult to understand why the White House hasn’t dispensed with him. Separate from the controversies which surround him, his performance has been abysmal. We get calls weekly from whistleblowers with excellent cases which are ignored, summarily dismissed, or put on hold for months and months while the whistleblower endures ongoing retaliation. Perhaps the White House is awaiting the results of an investigation by the Office of Personnel Management Inspector General (OPM IG). Clay Johnson, the Administration’s number two man at the Office of Management and Budget, recommended the OPM IG do this investigation in response to a complaint filed by POGO along with anonymous employees (pdf) of the Office of Special Counsel and others.
Apparently, Bloch still has a few friends around who may be mounting a last ditch effort to save his job. We don’t know who wrote this document which is riddled with misrepresentations and makes the case for keeping Bloch. We should note that, in our experience, Bloch regularly twists the truth. If you do know who wrote this, please drop us a line!
The letter raises a number of questions for us. For example, why would “friends of Bloch” come up with such a convoluted (and irrelevant) attack on the OPM IGs credibility? The White House (see exhibit 5 of this pdf), the Justice Department, and every other executive branch agency (and not merely OPM as this document claims) have repudiated Bloch’s legal interpretation on sexual orientation discrimination cases.
The document even stoops to attacking Bloch’s predecessor, Elaine Kaplan, who was without question the best Special Counsel in the agency’s almost 30-year history. Interestingly, Bloch himself took swipes at Kaplan in his FY 2004 annual report (pdf), so we have to wonder…is Bloch the author of this document?
Perhaps the ongoing OPM IG investigation is making Bloch very nervous and this is a last, desperate attempt at damage control.
-- Beth Daley