Are Good Government Groups Quick to Praise the New Special Counsel?
Is it too soon to say things like:
With this remarkable record and the extraordinary leadership of Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner, we can expect that as disclosures continue to skyrocket and the caseload grows, [the Office of Special Counsel] will handle their investigations and litigation with utmost efficiency and integrity.
The track record under the helm of Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner, who assumed office in 2011, is equally as unprecedented as its increased caseload and having increased productivity by over 50% in the past few years[.]
Consider that there are a few grumbles that have arisen so far concerning OSC’s performance:
- Using personal email to conduct government business;
- Allegations of “breakdown in accountability” in investigating improper political activity;
- Employing a template letter to close complaints that shows cursory analysis and use of restrictive standards not warranted under the law;
- Prolonged delays in processing FOIA requests.
Let me be clear: OSC deserves credit for the evident turnaround since the Scott Bloch era. Persistent underfunding continues, in part because the groups mentioned above have not pushed for it before. But this post is not so much about OSC’s performance today, as it is about grounding laudatory statements (and the propensity to make them) with facts. The groups above have a history of jumping to award OSC leadership when, frankly, it did not deserve it. The pattern may be repeating itself here. Facts matter, and the jury is still out.