Driven by an animus against homosexuals, Scott Bloch, a former head of the Office of Special Counsel in the George W. Bush administration, improperly reassigned a group of Washington employees to Detroit, according to a government report released Wednesday.
Bloch, who served as special counsel from 2003 to 2008, told a government contractor that he planned to "ship out" gay staffers and "had a license to do this," according to the 56-page report. The contractor, Richard Trefry, is a founder of Military Professional Resources Inc. and a former Army inspector general. Trefry spoke about Bloch as part of an Office of Personnel Management inspector general investigation into former employees' allegations about prohibited personnel practices Bloch may have carried out at the agency, which advocates for federal whistleblowers.
"Mr. Bloch and his immediate staff offered an array of ostensible explanations [for the reassignments] in press releases, Congressional testimony, and interviews with the investigative team, seeking to link the reassignments to the bona fide operational needs of the agency," says the report, which OPM Inspector General Patrick McFarland signed Dec. 5. "However, our investigation developed evidence which tended to undermine the proffered explanations."
Bloch, who is a solo practitioner in Washington, said in a written statement that the report is "nothing new" and "a rehash of old unsubstantiated stories and muddled statements," which he claimed he never made. He said its motive is political, adding that he has a pending lawsuit against OPM.
Debra Katz, a Katz, Marshall & Banks partner who represented the employees in this matter, said the report confirmed her concerns about Bloch, making her "so sick."
"Scott Bloch caused tremendous harm to the mission of OSC," she said.
The Government Accountability Project, the Project on Government Oversight, the Human Rights Campaign, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and former OSC employees, including Cary Sklar and Travis Elliot, filed a complaint against Bloch in March 2005, prompting the OPM investigation. OSC and the employees reached a settlement related to the matter this year, according to the agency. Katz declined to comment on the settlement.
The report came six months after Bloch was sentenced to serve 24 months of probation and spend a day in jail after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of destroying government property. The charge stemmed from his use of an outside computer company to delete files from several work computers, including his own.
Prosecutors alleged that the wipes were connected to the investigation by the OPM inspector general. Bloch denied the claims, saying he was having problems with his computer and thought the machines might have been affected by security threats.
"This depredation of property seems to have gone beyond just the innocent explanation of there being a virus and therefore a wipe is necessary to get rid of the virus," U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins said during Bloch's sentencing in June.
Updated on Dec. 19 with a comment from Bloch.