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Former special counsel Bloch plans guilty plea to federal charge

By Carol D. Leonnig
Scott J. Bloch, the former director of a federal office in charge of helping shield government whistleblowers from unfair treatment, plans to plead guilty to withholding information from congressional investigators after he had his office computer files professionally deleted in 2006.

U.S. prosecutors filed papers in federal court Thursday that accuse Bloch, who led the Office of Special Counsel through much of President George W. Bush's administration, of failing to truthfully answer questions about whether he arranged for private computer technicians to "scrub" his office computer and that of other political appointees. This type of filing, known as an information, is made public when a suspect is about to plead guilty to the allegations.

Bloch came under criticism early in his tenure as special counsel for ordering all mention of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation be removed from OSC's Web site and printed materials. Bloch stated his office lacked the authority to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

He was abruptly removed from his post and barred from returning to his office in October 2008 after a meeting with White House officials.

The FBI began looking into allegations he scrubbed his computer out of concern he was trying to stop an inquiry into whether he violated the Hatch Act by mixing political activity with his official job.

Prosecutors said that Bloch withheld information from the House oversight committee when it began investigating complaints about his office and allegations he was not properly protecting whistleblowers.

"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,' " the prosecutors' filing says.

"On or about March 4, 2008, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, defendant Bloch, having been requested by the House Oversight Committee to provide information upon a matter of pertinent inquiry before the Committee, 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."

By Carol D. Leonnig  |  April 22, 2010; 5:01 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Members of The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C), a group of present and former federal workers injured due to federal corruption, obstruction and discrimination recognize that little is done and often much too late to protect public servants from violators like Scott Bloch. Undoubtedly, during his tenure the former special counsel caused a lot of pain to both subordinates under his direct control and others under his jurisdiction.

Posted by: c4c123 | April 27, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Meangreen1, you're smoking crack to call Bloch the victim and say the reports about Bloch were false. If a half dose of justice discourages people like Bloch from public service, then the public will be served by that.

Posted by: dcer | April 22, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Put the influence of the Claremont Institute of California, the 4th tiered Ave Maria School of Law and Regent University together with a true believer like Scott Bloch and stir until shaken.

What came out of the mix was one very incompetent OSC too muddled with agenda driven dogma, polarized personnel, political talibanization, witch-hunting, back-biting, purity pledging egos who were into everything but doing their jobs.

Posted by: Gracefulboomer | April 22, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Clearly this shows the government had nothing, and simply squeezed Bloch til they got him to cop to a nothing misdemeanor. Millions spent on a political witch hunt. What about all of the lies that were printed about Bloch in the Post. Will your writers apologize? Just like the DOJ, you'll just look for another pelt to hang on the wall. Who in their right mind would serve in government and risk being financially ruined and vilified and falsely accused, like Bloch was.

Tough luck for Debra Katz and her former lover, Kaplan, who insitgated this whole thing because Kaplan could not get over having to leave office at OSC. Which complainant did you help? Which whistleblower did you assist? Which part of the government did you reform? The answers are simple: nobody and nothing.
You two are the real gangsters.

Posted by: meangreen1 | April 22, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Another stonewalling Bush Syndicate criminal. Here's hoping he's disbarred after the court case.

Posted by: hairguy01 | April 22, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Bloch was the very antithesis of a public servant throughout his tenure. Hope they throw the book at him!

Posted by: DCSteve1 | April 22, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

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