Bush-era official Scott Bloch, the former head of the Office of Special Counsel who will be sentenced on Thursday for misdemeanor contempt of Congress, told TPM in an interview that he felt vindicated by the report on the Bush administration’s use of taxpayer funds for political purposes.
The report, issued by OSC began under Bloch’s leadership in 2008 but not released until last week, found that the White House’s Office of Political Affairs violated the law by giving political briefings to federal employees in the workplace and dispatching officials to help Republican candidates in the 2006 election on the federal dime.
Bloch told TPM that, when the task force was launched back in 2008, he got a lot of pushback from career employees inside the agency as well as critics outside the agency, who thought that he was trying to protect himself. He added that there were some “risk averse” career employees in OSC.
He said the report turned out to be what they anticipated and planned — not in terms of its findings, but its scope.
“It vindicates my sense that we needed to go after these things,” Bloch told TPM.
Bloch said they knew going in that the report would look back at the previous administration because of the length of time the investigation would take and the fact that it began in the final months of the Bush administration.
Bloch said that he didn’t believe the report was delayed because of his departure, but said that if the report had taken as long as it had while he was still there he “probably would have snapped his fingers” to speed things up.
In an op-ed for the Washington Times last week titled “Some Bushies Had It Coming,” Bloch wrote that it gave him “no pleasure to see names of individuals I number as friends in the report” and said the “attacks on me from Republicans have been the most vicious.” He also said that the Obama administration’s decision to eliminate OPA was a positive outcome.
Bloch pleaded guilty in April to misdemeanor contempt of Congress for withholding information about his use of Geeks on Call to scrub computers when he was under investigation for retaliating against employees.
Several employees have written to the court to ask the impose a harsh penalty on Bloch. One former FAA safety inspector, Richard A. Wueroski, claimed he was illegally fired after he reported safety issues in the field. But former OSC employee Carol Maynor wrote the judge in support of Bloch, whom she said is being treated unfairly.
Late Update: Bloch referred all questions regarding his upcoming sentencing to his lawyer.