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Bush's next line of defense on, "missing" email, attorney firings, Rovian ratfucking: "We'll investigate ourselves"

Great news! The guy Bush has tapped to investigate clear Karl Rove is a crony-hiring, gay-hating adjunct Professor who's gutted his department and hired Christianists just of out of law school to replace the professsionals!

In other words, the guy's a "loyal Bushie."


The obscure federal investigative unit known as the Office of Special Counsel is preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington, launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that for more than six years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

So who's heading the investigation?

"We will take the evidence where it leads us," Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee, said in an interview Monday. "We will not leave any stone unturned."

So, who is Scott J. Bloch? I'm glad you asked:

Besides being the Justice contact for the Office of Faith [SIC] Based Pork Initiatives, he's obviously a "loyal Bushie." Bloch has all the earmarks of the species:

Scott J. Bloch hires cronies:

U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch, who is responsible for enforcing civil service rules, hired his son’s former Catholic boarding school headmaster as an expert consultant, in apparent violation of civil service rules, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In addition, Bloch gave the ex-headmaster a one-year appointment under which he would be entitled to receive as much as $111,966.40 but the only work produced was a four-page memo.

On March 16, 2004, Bloch hired Alan Hicks, a former headmaster of St. Gregory’s Academy, a Catholic boarding school, who left in the wake of allegations concerning priests sexually preying on young student ["sleeping sickness"], to serve as a consultant for a one-year period. Hicks was paid at an hourly rate of $53.83 for work not to exceed 2080 hours but Bloch has refused to divulge the total amount Hicks received.

Scott J. Bloch hires unqualified Christianists instead of professionals:

[JEFF RUCH of PEER] We think that Scott Bloch is politicizing the office, so what he's doing is pushing out the veteran civil servants and replacing them with selected loyalists who all appear to be movement conservatives. So, for example, he's hired three brand new graduates from the ultra-conservative Ave Maria Law School to act as investigators and attorneys rather than, as traditionally was done, have a competitive examination so that attorneys from around the country could compete for these positions. He's not made a single hire on a competitive basis.

Scott J. Bloch doesn't want gays to have rights:

A newly arrived Republican appointee has pulled references to sexual orientation discrimination off an agency Internet site where government employees can learn about their rights in the workplace.

The Web pages at the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency whose mission is to protect whistleblowers and other federal employees from retribution, has removed references to sexual orientation from a discrimination complaint form, training slides, a brochure titled "Your Rights as a Federal Employee" and other documents.

Scott J. Bloch, the agency head, said he ordered the material removed because of uncertainty over whether a provision of civil service law applies to federal workers who claim unfair treatment because they are gay, bisexual or heterosexual.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said she was especially concerned because Bloch removed an agency news release posted last year describing an investigation at the Internal Revenue Service that found an IRS supervisor denied a job to an applicant because he was gay.

"Removal of this press release, in particular, seems to signal a deliberate decision to obscure the history of OSC's enforcement actions," Kelley said. Her union represents about 98,000 IRS workers.

Scott J. Bloch is destroying the ability of his department to function:

The U.S. Special Counsel has handed out termination papers to seven headquarters staff members who refused involuntary reassignment to a proposed new office in Detroit and an existing office in Dallas. The seven were given one week – the minimum period allowed – to change their minds or be removed from the federal service in 30 days, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The 12 reassigned employees represent more than a fifth of the Special Counsel headquarters legal and investigative staff. Bloch did not consult beforehand with the people he selected for relocation nor did he ask for volunteers who might be willing to move. All 12 are career employees hired before Bloch became Special Counsel, an agency with the mission of protecting federal whistleblower and merit system rights.

This latest step, however, will have impact on all federal employees seeking help from OSC:

  • Many of the most experienced whistleblower lawyers and investigators are now gone or reassigned;
  • OSC’s highly successful Alternative Disputes Resolution program, which mediated disputes between employees claiming retaliation and agency management, is ended; and
  • Bloch’s proposed “Midwest Field Office in Detroit” will likely not have enough staff to effectively function, as only two staff members have tentatively agreed to relocate there under threat of termination.

But hey, let's let bygones be bygones. I'm sure everything will be OK going forward. The LA Times:

The 106-person Office of Special Counsel has never conducted such a broad and high-profile inquiry in its history. One of its primary missions has been to enforce the Hatch Act, a law enacted in 1939 to preserve the integrity of the civil service.

Bloch said the new investigation grew from two narrower inquiries his staff had begun in recent weeks.

One involved the fired U.S. attorney from New Mexico, David C. Iglesias.

The other centered on a PowerPoint presentation that a Rove aide, J. Scott Jennings, made at the General Services Administration this year.

Right. So, this is a modified limited hangout, right out of Nixon's playbook. If Bloch's investigation were serious, we'd be hearing about politicizing Justice to affect election outcomes, as part of Rove's disinformation campaign on so-called voter fraud.

If Bloch goes to Chattanooga for some BBQ and gets hold of the emails, we're fucking doomed.

NOTE Oddly, or not, the LA Times story (cited here) gives none of the background on Bloch. (See TBogg and Stygius. Even more oddly, or not, I don't see this story on the front pages of either Pravda on the Potomac or Izvestia on the Hudson.

NOTE Of course, I don't mean that Foley Ricks, or Bloch, are themselves predators. I do mean that, like the House Republican caucus, they seem incapable of recognizing and dealing with predators, so much so that predation is enabled on their watch. As authoritarians, the good Republicans, like good Germans, can't imagine that abuse of authority could even take place, while the bad ones revel in it.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Fantastic catch Lambert. I can't believe the people who ought to know better who are saying "Yay, at last, an investigation from inside the White House. They can't dodge this like they can Congressional inquiries." Well fuck no, you don't have to dodge anything if you own the leash on the watchdog.

You ought to sticky this here, and whore it around far and wide. PEER is getting to be invaluable in areas where they didn't used to tread....I've relied on them for years in matters of hankypankyism in the Interior Department since (as their name suggests) that's where they started out. Most are, or at least were in the beginning, retirees who know the system inside and out but are now out from under and can speak freely. And I get the feeling they're where whistleblowers pipe their information since, as noted above, the Office that's supposed to protect them has now been turned on its head.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Interesting too that Karen Tumulty, writing at Time's Swampland blog, notes the Hamburger LATimes story, and has to be told by the first two commentators that there might just be a problem with a Bush appointee investigating the President's closest advisor.

Tumulty calls the investigation 'new and potentially significant, and likely to cause problems for the Bush administration - especially so, because it doesn't come from Democrats, but from inside the administration.

How is it possible for a journalist who has been present in this country and supposedly on the job for the last six plus years to write that last bit without some kind of alarm going off in her head?

This administration doesn't investigate itself.

Evidently Tumulty didn't even bother to Goggle Mr. Bloch. She is reduced to adding Updates provided by her better informed readers.

At least she is able to demonstrate that she knows Jack Gittes was a character from the film "Chinatown." I suppose that is something.

Turns out Tumulty is the journamalist, and Lambert and Tumulty's readers, and now CREW, apparently, are the journalists

Here's the link, and be sure to read the comments.

BTW, if the matter is under investigation, are we going to be hearing that no one can talk to or give testimony to congress while such an investigation is on-going?

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

From way, way back in '05 even:

The Office of Special Counsel has been accused of political bias in enforcing the 1939 Hatch Act.

Amendments to a complaint filed against Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch in early March allege that OSC took no action on a complaint regarding then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's use of government funds to travel in the weeks before the 2004 presidential election, but vigorously pursued allegations against Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry's visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

OSC refused to comment on the new allegations, but has stated previously that the allegations are "old and have been previously addressed."

Watcha wanna bet that that last line there has a macro key (do they still even use that expression anymore?) whereby you hit just one button on your keyboard and the whole sentence prints out automatically. Big timesaver for frequently used statements they say.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

Every time you think that the Bush Administration has reached the limits of brazeness... I swear that when Bush finally leaves office, the jets will be running non-stop out of Reagan International all day taking these bastards back to Paraguay.

Is the concept of "abuse of authority" even possible for those who believe that they rule by divine right?

...for the rest of us

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

You describe Scott J. Bloch as a “loyal Bushie.” There is a new term for that, it's called a "goodling".

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

'Rovian Ratfucking' would be an excellent name for a band.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

We watched this guy today for an hour on CSpan and we were totally convinced he was really a fantastic civil servant. He spoke so well and answered every question completely and quickly with what seemed all of the facts. Then I came to the web to check him out and found this. Now, I don't know what to think.

Submitted by lambert on

All of these guys are very well spoken. But you also need to watch what they aren't saying. Stay critical in your thinking!

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.