Obstruction Delaying Completion of Investigation

(Washington D.C.) – In a letter sent earlier this week, the Government Accountability Project (GAP), Project On Government Oversight (POGO), and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) urged key congressional offices to deny requests for additional funds from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), pending the results of an investigation into alleged misconduct by OSC head Scott Bloch.

A copy of the letter is available here.

Also this week, a separate letter from attorney Debra S. Katz, of Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, who represents whistleblowers from the OSC and the groups wrote to White House counsel Fred Fielding pointing out that efforts by Bloch to obstruct the investigation are delaying its completion.

A copy of Katz’ letter is also available here.

Special Counsel Bloch has been under investigation for two years following allegations made by a group of anonymous OSC employees and the groups that Bloch retaliated against career staff who challenged gross mismanagement of the agency. The Office of Personnel Management Inspector General (OPM IG) is conducting the investigation on behalf of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE), an entity that governs conduct of the Inspectors General and the Special Counsel. The groups stressed the importance for the Congress to receive an interim report from the OPM IG concerning the investigation before doling out $3 million the Special Counsel is reportedly seeking.

Under questioning from members of Congress at an authorization hearing in July 2007, Bloch admitted that he had asserted attorney-client privilege concerning some of the documents being sought in the OPM IG investigation. Katz wrote in her letter: “It is our view that despite the diligent efforts of the OPM IG’s staff, Mr. Bloch has succeeded in obstructing and delaying this investigation for almost two and a half years. He has done so repeatedly, as I believe the OPM IG would confirm, both personally and through members of his political staff and most recently by directing his former and current political staff to refuse to answer questions about Mr. Bloch’s various misdeeds.”