The FBI today raided
the office and home of Scott Bloch, head of a small Federal agency called the United States Special Counsel's Office. The Special Counsel is a Watergate-era position created by Congress to enforce Federal laws against whistle-blower retaliation and politicking by Federal employees. Bloch has been under investigation by the Office of Personnel Management since 2005 for allegedly overstepping his authority, and has been the target of a Justice Department inquiry since late 2006, when he allegedly erased computer files related to the 2005 probe. Agents reportedly took computers and documents belonging to Bloch and Special Counsel's Office staff.
Bloch has been fighting back against the investigations by launching
investigations of his own against high-level Bush Administration employees. Karl Rove has been a target of a Special Counsel investigation into alleged violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits Federal employees from engaging in political activities on government time and with government resources. His agency may also have helped to force the resignation of Government Services Administration chief Lurita Doan. Bloch accused Doan of engaging in illegal political activities and handing out no-bid contracts. But if Bloch thought that conducting his own investigations would forestall Bush Administration action against him, the FBI proved him wrong today.
his investigation of Karl Rove in April of this year, after Democrats in Congress questioned whether government officials were improperly used in an effort to help Republicans get elected in 2006. The allegations were based on complaints from General Services Administration employees about presentations made by White House political operatives that allegedly urged the employees to find ways to help Republican candidates. By the time Bloch announced his investigation, he himself had already been under investigation for more than a year, leading some to question his motives.
Bloch admits to erasing information from government computers, but he told a Congressional committee that it was done to protect government information on the computers, not as part of a cover-up. His agency hired the computer support and maintenance firm Geeks on Call to allegedly help it deal with a computer virus infestation. Now, however, Bloch is suspected of obstruction of justice in the Office of Personnel Management's investigation and of lying to Congress.
Tagged: Bush administration
, Justice Department
, Karl Rove
, Lurita Doan
, Scott Bloch
, Special Counsel