Thursday, April 26, 2007

This is what I get for getting my hopes up

Remember the Office of Special Counsel's proposed investigation of Rove? Well, the guy running the show is himself under investigation, for some of the same things.
A federal investigation into the political activities of Karl Rove, announced late Monday, is being headed by a Bush appointee who is currently the target of an internal White House probe - calling into question the integrity of the administration's efforts to conduct an independent review of Rove's work as White House political adviser.

The news underscores how deeply the Bush administration is mired in scandal.

Scott J. Bloch, who heads the Office of Special Counsel, told the Los Angeles Times Monday that his office will launch a wide-ranging investigation into Rove's involvement in the firings of eight US attorneys, his behind-the-scenes work to influence elections, and his use of a Republican National Committee email account to conduct official White House business, in what appears to be a violation of the Presidential Records Act.

However, the Los Angeles Times failed to inform its readers that Bloch had been accused of retaliating against employees who disagreed with his policies, and intimidating them before they were questioned about a whistle-blower investigation inside the Office of the Special Counsel. The whistle-blower probe was launched by the White House's Office of Personnel Management inspector general nearly two years ago, according to a February 16, 2007 story in the Washington Post.


In fact, some of the issues Bloch would be in charge of looking into related to Rove's activities in the US attorneys scandal, such as claims that some federal prosecutors were not in sync with White House policies on a variety of issues, mirror Bloch's alleged behavior involving his own employees.

"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," the Washington Post reported. "The probe is the most serious of many problems at the agency since Bloch, a Kansas lawyer who served at the Justice Department's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives, was appointed by President Bush three years ago. Since he took the helm in 2004, staffers at the OSC, a small agency of about 100 lawyers and investigators, have accused him of a range of offenses, from having an anti-gay bias to criticizing employees for wearing short skirts and tight pants to work."

A January 13, 2005 story in The New Standard said employees in the Office of the Special Counsel retained a private attorney to protest Bloch's orders that at least 12 staffers in the department move to another city or lose their jobs so Bloch could hire individuals who agree with his policies. In a strange twist, these employees accused Bloch of selectively "purging" employees from his department, a word now associated with the US attorney firings, and an area that Bloch says he will investigate to determine if wrongdoing took place.

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