Scott Bloch was appointed Special Counsel in 2003. Previous to Bloch's arrival, the Special Counsel office was a nonpartisan group to help whistleblowers. Presidents both Democrat and Republican for over 2 decades had followed an order protecting gay federal employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. The order was formally signed into law by President Clinton in 1998. President Bush promised he would continue these protections. In early 2004 Bloch suddenly began removing website information that pertained to GLBT federal employees. He claimed that gays and lesbians were not protected under federal civil rights laws, and that "conduct" was a factor. One could be fired for gay activity, but not going to a gay pride parade. The White House disagreed with him, but he not only continued this new policy, in September 2004 he negotiated the removal of a list of protected categories from union contracts, replacing them with "any class protected by law." He has also dismissed over 1,000 complaints, many involving gays and lesbians. Here is just one example:
For 32 years Michael Levine considered himself lucky. The gay radio systems manager worked for the U.S. Forest Service at the Inyo National Forest in picturesque Bishop, Calif., not far from Yosemite National Park. Levine, now 65, was able to use his technical expertise in a locale that nourished his love of the outdoors. He was a model employee with a blemish-free record.
But his professional life started to fall apart two years ago after he blew the whistle on a coworker, who was running a private sporting goods business from the work site, and on their mutual supervisor, who had turned a blind eye. That's when the retaliation began: Levine was falsely accused of having child pornography on his computer, had his computer seized, was suspended for 14 days, and was referred to as a "fucking faggot" by the personnel officer who filed the charges against him.
Having nowhere else to turn, he contacted the government agency charged with protecting federal whistle-blowers and with enforcing antidiscrimination rules: the Office of Special Counsel....After taking no action in the case for over a year, the OSC unceremoniously closed Levine's whistle-blower retaliation case as well as his antigay discrimination case on January 27. Bloch's office failed to return Levine's many phone calls and recommended no further action on either complaint. Observes Levine: "When even the watchdog agency is corrupt, there's no hope for anybody."
The House Government Reform Committee recently voted to force him to include gays in federal discrimination laws, but he certainly doesn't seem like he has the track record to listen to their decision.
Before you say, "this is just some gay issue," it gets much worse.
In late 2004 Bloch began purging the office of employees who were not appointed by him. They could either be transferred to far away cities or be fired. Their replacements?
Since assuming office, Ruch told TNS, Bloch has exclusively filled openings at OSC with non-civil service employees appointed without competition, including many fresh out of the Christian conservative Ave Maria Law School. Ruch also said Bloch has employed no-bid contractors, an unusual practice at OSC.
And another qualified individual:
Washington, DC — 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.
Hey, I think we have another potential Supreme Court nominee!
Bloch also issued a gag order forbidding employees to discuss the organization. Yes, a group to PROTECT whistleblowers now has a gag order. And he was accused of shelving complaints against Condoleeza Rice until after the Presidential election.
In March 2005 a number of employees called for an independent invesitgation. This week, they finally learned their wish had been granted. This is one of THREE ongoing investigations into his office. Will this investigation go anywhere, or will he - as so many do these days - get away with his behavior? Well, I guess we can hope for the best and expect the worst.
This issue has been shockingly ignored by the media, probably in large part because they have no use for gays and see this as a gay issue. It's not. This affects many brave men and women who had come to know the OSC as something to protect them. Now the office has become a place of persecution and political shell games. This must stop. Please let people know about this and about what the stakes are.