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Did Bloch Resign or Get Canned?

POSTED: 05:20 PM ET, 10/24/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The departure of Office of Special Counsel chief Scott J. Bloch, who was under investigation, has become all the more mysterious after conflicting reports say he either resigned or was fired.

The White House had said Bloch resigned under pressure yesterday, five months after the FBI raided his home and office as part of the ongoing obstruction of justice investigation, The Post's Carrie Johnson reported.

But National Journal's CongressDaily, citing several unnamed sources, said Bloch was apparently fired and barred from entering his own office yesterday.

White House spokesman Carlton Carroll told The Washington Times that Bloch was put "on administrative leave until the end of his term," but he would not confirm reports that Bloch had been summoned yesterday to the White House, where he was reportedly fired.

In his resignation letter to President Bush (PDF), Bloch wrote: "As you well know, doing the right thing can result in much criticism and controversy from every side. I am proud to have enforced your stated policy goal of upholding the rule of law, enforcing the laws at it was written, not according to fads or special interest pressure."

Bloch also quoted the Greek philosopher Sophocles, saying, "No one likes the bearer of bad news."

Bloch had previously refused entreaties from lawmakers and his own staff to leave, pledging to fulfill his five-year term and leave in January.

The controversy over Bloch's job originally surfaced back in 2005 when a group of unnamed employees, along with the watchdog group the Project on Government Oversight, filed a complaint with the Office of Personnel Management, claiming Bloch was improperly disciplined his employees.

in February 2007, the OPM inspector general's office announced it had been investigating allegations by Bloch's current and former employees that he had retaliated against underlings who disagreed with his policies and also had tossed out legitimate whistle-blower cases to reduce the office's backlog.

During that investigation, it was alleged that Bloch hired a technology service, Geeks on Call, to erase his computer hard drive and those of two aides in 2006. Bloch said he sought to purge a computer virus but critics said the move was an attempt to obstruct the OPM's investigation. Subpoenas related to the incident were served in May.

By Derek Kravitz |  October 24, 2008; 5:20 PM ET
Previous: Greenspan in the Hot Seat, Voter Registration Issues, Stevens Trial Drama | Next: Picks of the Week: Landfills, Cigarettes and A Whistleblower

Comments

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The various reports do not seem inconsistent. The additional details seem to have come out later after the 4:00pm Thursday staff meeting. The timing and circumstances would certainly lead one to think there is an indictment about to surface (let's hope so). Yet, it could be something as simple as the White House not wanting to hear one more corny Sophocles quote (Bloch's signature style). Time will tell, but you can bet you won't find out until after the election.

Posted by: FellowTraveler | October 24, 2008 7:07 PM

Forced resignation is fired.

Posted by: larryjoe_33 | October 24, 2008 9:26 PM

OSC largely interpreted away its duties to protect feds from agency violations of the merit system principles (i.e. "prohibited personnel practices" (PPP's)) when it was created by Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

For the first time, OSC's (mis)interpretation of what is now 5 USC 1214(e) - that its reporting requirements do not apply to the laws, rules, and regulations under OSC's investigatory jurisdiction - is being tested in Court, in Carson v. OSC, docket no. 08-5219, Fed. Court of Appeals D.C..

David Nolan, an attorney experienced in Federal employment law, recently filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of any federal employee who has ever sought OSC's protection from PPP's, particularly the whistleblower reprisal type PPP, or other agency violations of law, rule, or regulation under OSC's jurisdiction and/or people who anticipate doing so. That is 20,000 or more current of former feds.

Anyone who want to join this amicus brief can do so, for free, by contacting him or me, via our blog oscwatch.org

Posted by: jpcarson1 | October 25, 2008 11:50 AM

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