Archive for Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lawyer tells of his role in Bush administration

KU graduate Scott Bloch visits law school

September 26, 2006

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Scott Bloch doesn't expect to make friends.

"It's in the nature of the position that I have that you really can please no one - including the White House, Congress or the other agencies or outside interest groups," he said.

Bloch, a Kansas University graduate who spent more than a decade at the Lawrence firm Stevens & Brand, leads the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the agency responsible for protecting federal workers and whistle-blowers.

Midway through his five-year term, Bloch chuckles when asked why he's become a lightning rod for criticism.

"When you're a presidential employee, that doesn't mean you get to be coated in Teflon," he said. "You are going to hear criticism, and we learn from that."

'Wonderful adventure'

Bloch visited KU Monday to recruit law students. He will deliver a lecture titled "Is There a Fourth Branch of Government: Independent Agencies and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel" at 12:30 p.m. today at Washburn University's law school.

Bloch started his five-year term with the agency in January 2004.

Since then, he's eliminated the agency's backlog and made the office more efficient and effective, he said.

Scott Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and former Lawrence attorney, was accused of drawing out an investigation for two years of his actions. This week he will face a federal judge to determine the sentence for criminal contempt of Congress.

Scott Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and former Lawrence attorney, was accused of drawing out an investigation for two years of his actions. This week he will face a federal judge to determine the sentence for criminal contempt of Congress.

"It's been a wonderful adventure," he said. "I tell people that I feel that I'm among the luckiest people I know to have the opportunity to be in a leadership position, to have important work that goes to the heart of the public trust in government, that goes to issues of taxpayer concerns of waste of government money, fraud and abuse of authority and dangers to public health and safety. "

But critics are plentiful.

He's been accused of retaliating against employees and dismissing legitimate complaints and whistle-blower cases to reduce the backlog.

It's a particularly rough time for whistle-blowers, said Jennifer Gore of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

"The environment is a hostile one," said Gore, the group's communications director. "You might as well be just walking into a lake filled with piranha if you're going to be a whistle-blower."

But Bloch's office points to a letter from the Congressional Committee On Government Reform that states the committee is satisfied with Bloch's work following a review of the office at Bloch's invitation.

"All I know is I keep getting exonerated and I keep getting investigated," Bloch said. "I leave it to others to determine whether it's a proper use of taxpayer funds to continually investigate someone who's already been exonerated by those who actually know what they're doing."

Facing criticism

Within months of taking his post, Bloch faced a furor regarding his decision to deny gay federal workers protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. But Bloch maintains his office is working within its parameters.

And a media research group based at Sonoma State University in California calls the jeopardized state of federal whistle-blower protection one of the top 10 most uncovered stories in America.

Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said the agency had high hopes for Bloch, but things have changed.

"His tenure has just been an unmitigated disaster," Ruch said.

Despite a record amount of whistle-blowing, the agency is investigating fewer cases, PEER wrote in a December press release. And Ruch said it's difficult to know what action, if any, is going on within the agency.

"I think people have come to the conclusion that the office ought to be abolished," Ruch said. "We think it's beyond repair."

To these and other criticisms, Bloch blames a press that fails to focus on what's important and interest groups and lobbyists bent on twisting the truth.

"I think it's important that readers - citizens generally - realize that much that drives our government and public opinion is unfortunately in the hands of very few lobbyists and special interest groups who have very loud voices," he said. "I think we see more propaganda than truth."

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 11 months ago

In an administration that is the entirely focused on its own agenda and ignores enforcement of any laws that interfere with that agenda, the complaints against Bloch sound quite credible.

kernabloom 8 years, 11 months ago

Bloch is being investigated for ONE reason and ONE reason only: He had the audacity to uphold the rule of law. The law does not recognize sexual orientation as a protected class. So he simply did his duty and removed this bogus interpretation from the OSC website. He's been rewarded with relentless smear campaigns by the homosexual lobby and their lapdogs on Capitol Hill. This crowd is never happier when they have another Bush administration boogeyman to beat up. George Bush should give Bloch a medal for all the crap he has had to endure.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 11 months ago

Things you don't pay attention to Bozo, or that you refuse to accept, becaquse your decision is not made by intellect, but to hate!

"To these and other criticisms, Bloch blames a press that fails to focus on what's important and interest groups and lobbyists bent on twisting the truth."

Definitely on both sides. That is Objective analysis.

""I think it's important that readers - citizens generally - realize that much that drives our government and public opinion is unfortunately in the hands of very few lobbyists and special interest groups who have very loud voices," he said. "I think we see more propaganda than truth.""

Directly applicable to the illegal immigration issues.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

""All I know is I keep getting exonerated and I keep getting investigated," Bloch said. "I leave it to others to determine whether it's a proper use of taxpayer funds to continually investigate someone who's already been exonerated by those who actually know what they're doing.""

ANd you thought all the witch hunts on Clinton were unmitigated arrogance, what about this??????

Spomana 8 years, 11 months ago

The other untold story when it comes to Scott Bloch is the fact that he has been praised for his work by the House Committee that keeps tabs on this kind of stuff. The chairman of the committee on Government Reform sent a letter to the OSC that says his "hard and smart" work has led to a "more responsive office." See link to letter below. You won't read ANY of this in the mainstream media. Why not? Because it does not fit into their attack narrative they have concocted.

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