At least three public-interest groups are calling for the ouster of Special Counsel Scott Bloch, whose independent agency represents federal whistle-blowers.
The groups -- Project on Government Oversight, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Government Accountability Project -- say Bloch should go because of new revelations by The Wall Street Journal that he paid a computer firm to cleanse his computer hard drives at work.
The WSJ reports today that Bloch paid $1,149 to Geeks on Call for a "seven-level wipe" of his computer nearly a year ago. Such deletions make it difficult for computer forensics experts to reconstruct data.
Bloch is under investigation by the Office of Personnel Management's inspector general after the White House received a complaint in 2005 that Bloch retaliated against employees in his own office and ordered a massive purge of whistleblower cases.
Bloch, appointed by President George W. Bush to a five-year term in 2003, may be removed for neglect, inefficiency or malfeasance in office. He could not be reached for comment today.
"Obstruction of justice, making untruthful statements to Congress, retaliating against whistleblowers, purging career staff, using official authority for personal and political reasons, and the systematic destruction of OSC's effectiveness and credibilty certainly constitute malfeasance," writes Debra Katz of Katz, Marshall & Banks in a letter to President Bush.
Katz represents current and former Office of Special Counsel employees in the complaint against Bloch.
“Stop the madness! Under Bloch’s leadership, OSC has been utterly neutered. Bloch’s tenure epitomizes everything people distrust in government: cronyism, incompetence, retaliatory conduct and a politicized agenda," says Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight.
Jeff Ruch, Executive Director, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, adds, "If Scott Bloch had any decency, he would resign. It is critical that federal whistleblowers have an official advocate who is credible and free from hidden agendas."