Scott J. Bloch

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Scott J. Bloch was nominated by President George W. Bush as Special Counsel in the Office of Special Counsel on June 26, 2003. Bloch's nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2003. Bloch, replaced Elaine D. Kaplan, who resigned, and joined the OSC office on January 5, 2004, to serve a five-year term.[1][2][3]

Under investigation ...

Elizabeth Williamson wrote February 15, 2007, in the Washington Post:

"The Office of Personnel Management's inspector general has been investigating allegations by current and former OSC employees that Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch retaliated 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. Bloch denies the accusations, saying that under his leadership the agency has grown more efficient and receptive to whistle-blowers.
"The 16-month investigation has been beset by delays, accusations and counter-accusations. The latest problem began two weeks ago, when Bloch's deputy sent staffers a memo asking them to inform OSC higher-ups when investigators contact them. Further, the memo read, employees should meet with investigators in the office, in a special conference room. Some employees cried foul, saying the recommendations made them afraid to be interviewed in the probe.
"The OSC's memo, the group said, 'was only the latest in a series of actions by Bloch to obstruct' the investigation. 'Other actions have included suggestions that all witnesses interviewed...provide Bloch with affidavits describing what they had been asked and how they responded.'"

...and to investigate Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales

As Bloch is "mov[ing] forward with plans for a sweeping probe of the Bush administration," and the activities of presidential adviser Karl Rove and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in particular, "several advocacy groups complained that his ties to the administration and to conservative groups, as well as his record on gay rights and whistle-blowers, made him the wrong man for the job," Tom Hamburger wrote April 25, 2007, in the Los Angeles Times.

"'There is a serious question as to whether Bloch will just provide cover for an administration that is covering for him,' said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a Democratic-leaning group."

OSC communications director James Mitchell, a spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel, "waved away the complaints, saying agency staffers have already begun to form an internal task force, led in part by career staff, to probe three broad areas of activity involving the White House and senior advisor Karl Rove.

"The agency will use its subpoena power if necessary, Mitchell said. It will focus on whether White House political concerns improperly intruded on the decision to fire at least one U.S. attorney; whether Rove's office staff or others violated" the Hatch Act—"a 70-year-old law that bars federal employees from engaging in political activities using government resources or on government time"[4]—"in briefing Cabinet agency managers on political developments and Republican campaign goals; and whether the White House improperly used Republican National Committee e-mail accounts for official business.

"Many of those e-mails are now missing, and Bloch has said his agency will probably join the effort to find them," Hamburger wrote.


According to Bloch's White House nomination, [5]

"The President intends to nominate Scott J. Bloch of Kansas, to be Special Counsel, Office of Special Counsel, for a five-year term. He currently serves as Deputy Director and Counsel to the Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Justice. Previously, Mr. Bloch was a Partner with Stevens & Brand, LLP, where he practiced in the areas of civil rights law, employment law, and legal ethics. Prior to this position, he served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Kansas School of Law. Mr. Bloch earned his bachelor's degree and his J.D. from the University of Kansas." White House, June 26, 2003.

According to the statement made by Bloch on November 12, 2003, in his Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs 'Nominations Hearing',

"As I reflect today on my background which has prepared me for this challenge, I am reminded that I grew up with an understanding of the importance of the underdog. My father was a lifelong member of a union, the Writers Guild of America, and he taught me the need for protections for those who are trying to earn a living for their families, who stand as a lone voice against a powerful industry. In my law practice, I learned to champion the small worker and found this work to be the most rewarding of my legal career. That sense of justice and the rule of law inspired me to come to Washington for a career in public service; it continues to inspire me in this new position for which I have been nominated."

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Articles & Commentary

By Scott J. Bloch