CommunityPam's House Blend

Another Bushie under investigation


This toad Scott Bloch deserves his balls tightened in a vise. Photo: (By Lois Raimondo — The Washington Post)

“The courts have specifically rejected sexual orientation as a class protection.”
Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel — and another administration henchman under investigation.

A little background…back in May, it was learned that Scott Bloch was failing to enforce the federal workplace anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation, which was enacted when Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting bias in the civil service back in 1998.

If a federal manager fires, reassigns or takes some other action against an employee simply because that employee is gay, there is nothing in federal law that would permit the Office of Special Counsel to protect the worker, Bloch testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal workforce and the District of Columbia.

But wait…is that really the policy? WTF? Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) grilled Bloch about this at the time. (WaPo):

…”Longstanding federal policy prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation,” the White House said in a statement. “President Bush expects federal agencies to enforce this policy and to ensure that all federal employees are protected from unfair discrimination at work.”

That is not something that you believe is binding on you?” he asked. “It is binding on me,” Bloch said, “but it is not something I can prosecute in my agency. . . . I am limited by the enforcement statutes that you give me.”

Federal civil rights laws ban employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability and political affiliation. Sexual orientation is not among these “protected classes.”

When Levin asked if Bloch would recommend that Congress clarify the law so that protections for federal employees extend to sexual orientation, Bloch declined to take a position.

Bloch, who took the oath of office from Clarence Thomas in February 2004, now finds that his lack of position on the matter (and other par-for-the-course behavior in this Admin) has landed him in hot water. (365gay.com):

A high level investigation into Special Counsel Scott Bloch was announced Tuesday by the Office of Personnel Management. The inquiry will be undertaken by Inspector General Patrick McFarland.

Bloch has been under fire for more than a year. The Office Of The Special Council is the agency that investigates complaints of discrimination by federal workers, but, Bloch has refused to take on complaints of discrimination based on sexuality.

He is also accused of heavy-handedness in dealings with his own staff. Both Federal Globe, the LGBT organization for federal civil servants, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a watchdog group, have called for an investigation for months.

On March 3, 2005, the groups along with the Human Rights Campaign and OSC staff members filed an official complaint against Bloch. With pressure mounting on the administration to act, the decision bring in Inspector General McFarland was made by Clay Johnson III, Deputy Director of the President’s Office of Management & Budget.

The complaint specifies instances of illegal gag orders, cronyism, invidious discrimination, and retaliation. [What? Cronyism, retaliation? How could this be possible? Not in this Administration…]

The OPM Inspector General investigation into Bloch is the third probe into Bloch’s operation after less than two years in office. The Government Accountability Office and a U.S. Senate subcommittee both have ongoing investigations into mass dismissal of hundreds of whistleblower cases, crony hires, and Bloch’s targeting of gay employees for removal while refusing to investigate cases involving discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Read more about Bloch and his background in a good piece in the Boston Phoenix.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding