E-mails come back to haunt former Lawrence lawyer

The scoop on Scott Bloch

Scott Bloch, a Lawrence native, earned a bachelor’s degree in 1980 from Kansas University and a law degree from KU in 1986.

He practiced law at Stevens & Brand LLP, a Lawrence firm, for 15 years before accepting a position with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2001.

? Those darn e-mails will bite you every time.

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., on Thursday surprised Scott Bloch, a presidential appointee who heads the Office of Special Counsel, by reading aloud an e-mail Bloch sent to his friends. One of those friends forwarded it to Davis, probably because Bloch criticizes Davis in it.

Before disclosing the e-mail at a House subcommittee hearing, Davis asked Bloch what he would do if he learned of an agency official sending out news clips and personal commentary about agency business during working hours, even if a private e-mail account was used.

The e-mail alludes to testimony by a Bush appointee, Lurita Alexis Doan, who heads the General Services Administration. Bloch’s office has sent a report to the White House alleging that Doan violated federal law when she asked other political appointees at a campaign briefing how the GSA team could help “our candidates” in the next election.

In the e-mail, Bloch pointed his friends to a news account of Doan’s testimony at a House hearing. He wrote:

“It is Congressman Tom Davis, who has been acting like Doan’s defense counsel, saying reckless things about OSC’s report and calling for my resignation. Weird Kabuki theatre, all of this. I am going up for my Reauthorization hearing on July 12, and Davis will either show up as ranking member of the larger committee, or have Cong. Mica do his dirty work of raking me over the coals.”

Bloch’s forecast was correct: Davis and Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., showed up.

Davis told Bloch that he wanted all e-mails Bloch has sent on his AOL account since Jan. 26 that mentioned the Hatch Act, the law that Doan has been accused of violating; Doan; Davis; Mica; and any other member of Congress or other government official.

“It is not going to happen,” Bloch responded. “Let’s move on to something real.”

Davis did not budge, asking questions that suggested he believes Bloch has shown poor judgment and a lack of professionalism in the Doan case.

Bloch protested that his privacy was being invaded and that the matter was inappropriate for a congressional hearing. At one point, he said, “If you want to exchange personal attacks, perhaps we should go outside.” That comment elicited nervous laughter in the audience; Bloch quickly clarified that he wasn’t making a threat.

Bloch, a native of Lawrence, Kan., heads an independent agency whose mission is to protect federal employee rights, but he has been under investigation for the last two years because of allegations that he has run roughshod over his staff and allowed politics to play a role in some of his decisions.