Scott Bloch Cops A Plea For Bloching Justice

You might remember our old friend Scott Bloch, the former head of the United States Office of Special Counsel under the Bush/Cheney Administration. The OSC’s primary mission is to safeguard the Federal merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing. You might also remember Bloch was the one David Iglesias was sure could unravel the US Attorney Purgegate and nail Karl Rove. That didn’t work out so well, and then Bloch got in hot water himself for purging his own computers with the pros from “Geeks on Call” performing a “seven level wipe” for him.

Well, to make a long story short, it appears Lady Justice has finally caught up to the intrepid BlochHead. From the Washington Post:

Scott J. Bloch, the former director of a federal office in charge of helping shield government whistleblowers from unfair treatment, plans to plead guilty to withholding information from congressional investigators after he had his office computer files professionally deleted in 2006.

U.S. prosecutors filed papers in federal court Thursday that accuse Bloch, who led the Office of Special Counsel through much of President George W. Bush’s administration, of failing to truthfully answer questions about whether he arranged for private computer technicians to “scrub” his office computer and that of other political appointees. This type of filing, known as an information, is made public when a suspect is about to plead guilty to the allegations.

Bloch came under criticism early in his tenure as special counsel for ordering all mention of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation be removed from OSC’s Web site and printed materials. Bloch stated his office lacked the authority to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

He was abruptly removed from his post and barred from returning to his office in October 2008 after a meeting with White House officials.

The root here is Bloch is to plea to withholding information about his computer scrape from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A criminal information was filed today, and that means his change of plea to guilty is on the immediate horizon, very possibly tomorrow. Here is the AP version of the story.

Hilariously enough, Bloch’s troubles began when someone blew the whistle on him; from a February 2007 Washington Post article:

A trouble-plagued whistle-blower investigation at the Office of Special Counsel — whose duties include shielding federal whistle-blowers — hit another snag this week when employees accused the special counsel of intimidation in the probe.

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. Bloch denies the accusations, saying that under his leadership the agency has grown more efficient and receptive to whistle-blowers.

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.

At any rate, the continuing saga of Bungalow Bloch appears to be nearing an end. Oh well, another name to the Bush Administration convict list and another update of Hugh’s Bush Scandal List needed.

59 replies
    • Citizen92 says:

      As I can recall, Bloch was shown the door quite quickly following a “White House meeting.”

      My guess is he had the real story on Gannon/Guckert.

      (Didn’t this guy also give the headmaster of his son’s school a no-bid contract?)

      • hackworth1 says:

        Bloch likely had a lot of stuff he wanted erased. GannyGuck is a good guess. What else could Bloch have had erased to save Rove, Dubya, Cheney, et al. What did Bloch have privy to? What didn’t he?

        There was the Rove driven railroading of Alabama Siegelman, the coverups and general disregard for the law by the legal eagles from Regent U – Pat Robertson’s Law School.

        What can they do about any of it now? Obama looking forward.

        • Citizen92 says:

          Bloch’s ousting was a classic Rovian smear. He had (some of) the goods on Karl. By wiping the computer, Bloch avoided a fate similar to that of Michael Connell.

  1. rosalind says:

    “U.S. prosecutors filed papers in federal court Thursday that accuse Bloch, who led the Office of Special Counsel through much of President George W. Bush’s administration, of failing to truthfully answer questions about whether he arranged for private computer technicians to “scrub” his office computer and that of other political appointees.” (emphasis mine)

    Do we know the names of the other political appointees whose computers were scrubbed? My memory of Scott Bloch was he called in the Geek Squad to scrub his personal computer – I didn’t realize other computers were similarly scrubbed.

  2. victoria2dc says:


    Does this mean that people like the former DOJ ethics attorney, who was retaliated against after she became a whistleblower, will have a chance to sue him or the Federal government when he pleads guilty? She worked for DOJ and recommended that the FBI not interrogate “The American Taliban” until he had a chance to speak to an attorney. When they didn’t follow her advice, she became a whistleblower and was disbarred, put on the Terrorist Watch List, etc. etc. Her life was blown apart simply because she did her job.

  3. victoria2dc says:

    Here’s a recent link to one of her diaries at dailykos.


  4. jdmckay0 says:

    the continuing saga of Bungalow Bloch appears to be nearing an end.

    Seems to me all this stuff always happens in small ways, long after the fact, w/little scrutiny as to affect of crimes… rather instead hit ’em w/a couple trifling charges. Hey, Big Jack Abramhoff’s about to get out already, isn’t he? And what happened to that reduced sentence he got for “cooperation”: what were fruits of *that*… reduced sentence for what, please remind me?

    I thought Think Progress article today on Repub hookup w/banking lobbyists looks like more of the same… chilling actually. What happens in the shadows and all.

    I’ve been saying for a while… actually, a long while, that the primary lesson from Bush years: CRIME PAYS.

    • bmaz says:

      In fairness, that goes back to Iran contra and, to some extent, Watergate in that the executive himself – Nixon – was never criminally punished because Ford was determined to “look forward”.

      • bobschacht says:

        Yeah, but at least Nixon was the first president to resign under a cloud of suspicion. That ain’t beanbag. I would have preferred criminal prosecution of all who were indictable, and Ford’s looking forward put a stop to that. But Nixon resigned in disgrace, and that’s something.

        Bob in AZ

        • bmaz says:

          Agreed; but it still left the hubris and opening for Reagan’s Iran Contra, which really set the table for where we are now. Heck it is even the same black hats in Cheney, Rummy, et. al.

          • jdmckay0 says:

            it is even the same black hats in Cheney, Rummy, et. al.

            True. And those guys went back to Nixon as well. Almost like in BushCo the fruition of their long apprenticeship came fully to bare.

            But as you said in closing sentence: “Oh well,”…

            • bmaz says:

              Well, yeah, that was kind of my point about the linkage going back to Watergate. If the executive himself had been pounded, maybe it would have set a different tone. But, you know, many top aides did get hammered and the Cheney, Rummy crew proceeded to grow upward and outward from there; so maybe not. It is quite the career arc they had.

              • bobschacht says:

                That crowd has always had the attitude, “we’re going to push the envelop until you stop us.” Once they finally got into power, they pushed the envelop in spades, especially during Bush’s first term. They committed more than enough impeachable offenses to get at least 3-4 of them impeached, were it not for Nancy Pelosi and the feckless Democrats. Finally, Bush woke up and stopped signing everything Cheney put in front of him. But if they get into power again, they will push the envelop again, with everything they’ve got. Our Democracy is seriously at risk.

                Bob in AZ

              • Leen says:

                Obama, Cass Sunstein. I have even heard Senator Sherrod Brown (who I deeply respect) repeat the “move forward, turn the page, next chapter, don’t be about vengeance, retribution” chorus.

      • librty says:

        In fairness, that goes back to Iran contra and, to some extent, Watergate in that the executive himself

        Personally, I think it’s all the way back to JFK’s assassination. Some of the same parasitic corrupt maggots are in office today that were low level staffers then

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      It’s my view these guys can’t build a business that can stand on its own; their only hope is to become successful as parasites by controlling government.

  5. alinaustex says:

    Is David Iglesias still helping the administration in its efforts to close Gitmo? Will the Bloch plea agreement further any other efforts to remedy harm done to the wrongfull terminated AGs ? It seems to me Bloch had some doings with lil Miss Goodling in the context of the Fundamentalist taking over the DOJ generally during the Bushco years .

    • klynn says:

      Thanks for the links. I agree with Greenwald, that all the points he addressed are related.

      I agree to some extent with the “common link” he infers through the Hayes comment, but I think he is inferring a deeper commonality. And his inference carries weight because he is Glenn Greenwald (hope you catch what I am stating in that.). Look at the commonality behind the $ power.

      As to the specific on Ivins…nice confirmation.

  6. Rayne says:

    Could be more benign crap Bloch wiped off his hard drive, if the findings at the SEC are any indication. Maybe Bloch was just a consumer of pr0n who figured his hard drive would be audited because of the USA scandal.

    Or not.

    • hackworth1 says:

      Rove ordering and orchestrating political and other hits on enemies of Freedumb via emails to Bloch. Is that likely or possible?

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    During a Terri Gross February 10 2010 interview with James Lewis, there was a passage about portable thumbdrives, Bloch*s favorite format portable files, though the Lewis interview was unrelated to Bloch, however…Lewis described a spook trick: put malware on a passle of thumbdrives; drop said thumbdrives in the parkinglot of the building whose network contained the desired data for acquisition; someone picks up the thumbdrives, takes them in the office…malware propagates. [Lewis laughed in the interview, at how lamentable it is the ruse became commonplace in spook m.o., and, so, became less useful.]

    • qweryous says:

      AFIK those names aren’t out there. Yet.

      I wanted to know and may have names in a while.

      Strangely enough,there was a lot of ‘turnover’ in that office.

      • bmaz says:

        There were two “team leaders” or something like that – one girl and one guy if I recall correctly – that left somewhere not too long before the shit hit the fan there. They may have been the complainants against Bloch, I just can’t remember…..

        • qweryous says:

          I found this, which documents some of the ‘goings on’ from one perspective.

          29 page pdf LINK:

          Note that some of the complaint filers are still at OLC, so perhaps Bloch did not entirely succeed.

          The allegation is to force out most upper level career appointees with the idea of replacing with as many Ave Maria and Regent grads as possible.

          Several mentions of the scrubbing of the different computers by Bloch not all exactly the same but no names. Probably two political appointees, but
          not sure the source of this info, and can’t find the cleaners invoice.

          May just reconstruct the organizational chart and then go from there.

    • fatster says:

      Don’t know what to say if you’re using IE. But if you’re using Firefox, go to View, click Zoom, then click Zoom In. If you’re using Safari, go to View, then click Zoom In. Hope this helps.

  8. TheOracle says:

    There’s a whole lot more to this than meets the eye.

    Bloch would have been involved in top-level Bush/Cheney administration discussions (especially in the first four years) of torture, the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, and so much more. His computer files would have revealed so, so much about the criminality running rampant through the Bush/Cheney administration that his computer HAD to be erased if the cover-up were to succeed, which it has.

    BTW, how many whistleblowers did Bloch expose to the Bush/Cheney crime family after these whistleblowers sought to expose the corruption running through the most criminal and corrupt Republican administration in American history?

      • qweryous says:

        I have a typo in my @54: NOT OLC. IT IS OSC.

        I’ll second what TheOracle @51 says to some extent. I’d already found all this while on the hunt for whose files were deleted.

        I’ll post a link or two.

        Bloch and Rove :

        GSA Briefing Now Part Of Wider Investigation“By Scott Higham and Robert O’Harrow Jr.Washington Post Staff WritersTuesday, April 24, 2007

        “The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is expanding its investigation of a January videoconference, conducted by Karl Rove’s deputy for General Services Administration appointees, to look at whether the political dealings of the White House have violated the Hatch Act, its chairman said last night. “


        Bloch and Siegelman:

        this link summarizes and has links to POGO docs:

        Bloch and Condoleezza Rice:


        “In 2004 and 2005, Chairman Conyers wrote to OSC chief Scott Bloch asking him to investigate allegations of improper partisan activity by then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. The OSC found no violation in that case. Subsequent allegations surfaced that Mr. Bloch had acted improperly in his handling of this matter. (correspondence linked here). More recently, Mr. Bloch has also reportedly denied requests by career OSC employees to open probes into allegations of politically selective prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys, including those of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and voter registration activists in Missouri.”

        Oh and I think Bloch is a Bradley Schlozman buddy according to at least one account.

  9. qweryous says:

    OSC and the US Attorney firings (13 page PDF) LINK:

    “The Office of Special Counsel’s Special Task Force was created in May 2007 to pursue certain high profile and complex investigations, such as the firing of the Us attorneys and the political presentations given by the White House Office of Political Affairs.”

    See page 4 for the start of Task Force activities with respect to the US Attorneys Firings. Excerpt:

    “May 4, 2007 Special Counsel and Deputy Special Counsel meet with individuals at the Department of Justice, including Officials from the Office of Legal Counsel, to discuss OSC’s investigation of the Iglesias complaint.”

    Joint OIG/OPR report:

    “An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring and Other Improper Personnel Actions in the Civil Rights Division”(70 page pdf)


    “This report describes the results of the joint investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) into allegations that political or ideological affiliations were considered in hiring, transferring, and assigning cases to career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (Department).”

    Search the above document for “Scott Bloch” and the first return is:

    “… Kim told us Lelling’s call bothered him because he was not sure whether Schlozman “was applying the right kind of criteria” to hiring decisions. Within a week of speaking to Lelling, Kim said he brought the subject up in a conversation with Schlozman. Kim told us that he made clear to Schlozman that it would be unlawful and impermissible to make hiring decisions based on political affiliations. Kim said he “basically parrot[ed] to Schlozman the requirements of the CSRA,” referring to the Civil Service Reform Act. Kim said that Schlozman reacted with what Kim described as “a double-take with his head.” Kim said he followed up by adding that the statute is enforced by the Office of Special Counsel, and Scott Bloch, the Special Counsel, whom he knew to be a friend of Schlozman. Kim said that Schlozman looked at Kim and said, “You know, I don’t do that.”” Bold added

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