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Special Counsel Pads His Record on Eve of Oversight Hearing

May 23, 2005
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Groups Accuse Special Counsel of Misleading Congress
(Washington, DC) – Scott Bloch, the U.S. Special Counsel, has been issuing phony numbers to mask his office's dismal record on whistleblower matters, according to an analysis released today by two leading national whistleblower organizations.  On the eve of a Congressional oversight hearing, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) are accusing Bloch of misleading Congress by issuing misleading figures that suggest significant progress on whistleblower cases have occurred during his tenure.
In recent weeks, Bloch has mounted a public relations offensive in seeking to deflect a torrent of criticism over wholesale dismissal of hundreds of whistleblower cases, gag orders he has issued to his own staff, a wave of forced resignations as part of an ill-fated effort to open a Mid-Western Field Office in Detroit, and cronyism in his hiring practices. In the past two weeks, Bloch has issued three press releases on whistleblower issues, more than the total of all such releases in the previous 15 months. Bloch has issued new numbers that appear to reflect great progress but has yet to issue any formal report that details case handling.
"The Office of Special Counsel is too important to federal whistleblowers for it to get by on false advertising," said GAP Legal Director Tom Devine. "Congress needs to get a clear idea about what is happening at this sick agency, and about how much damage has occurred already."
The groups point out that, contrary to numbers put forward by Bloch –
  • Whistleblower cases referred for investigation are actually decreasing, not rising;
  • Backlog reductions occurred because cases were closed without review.  For cases requiring investigation, the internal backlogs have in fact risen; and
  • Because Bloch used increased funding from Congress to hire cronies and consultants, OSC lacks the experienced staff to do the hard work required in complicated cases. 
"Scott Bloch appears to have a reverse Midas touch; everything he has touched has turned out badly," commented PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization has spent the past year trying to pry information out of OSC about Bloch's record.  "Congress needs to ask hard questions and should not settle for a glib explanation by Bloch."
Tomorrow, the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia is slated to hold an oversight hearing on Bloch's conduct as Special Counsel with Bloch as the only listed witness.
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