Late last year, federal employees, government whistleblowers, and advocates for LGBT equality cheered when Scott Bloch, the former head of the Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”), a federal agency, was charged with destruction of government property. Mr. Bloch is the subject of a longstanding investigation by the Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Inspector General (“OPM IG”) into allegations by Katz, Marshall & Banks clients that he retaliated against them when they blew the whistle on his efforts to violate federal law by suppressing protections for LGBT federal employees. To read more about the details of the charge, read our previous blog post on the subject. That group was given cause for cheer again yesterday, when news broke that Bloch had pled guilty to the charges against him.
The OSC is the federal agency charged with protecting federal employees from whistleblower retaliation. The complaint against him alleges, however, that while head of OSC Mr. Bloch authorized the dismissal of hundreds of whistleblower complaints without investigation – leaving hundreds of dedicated federal employees potentially subjected to unlawful retaliatory conduct with no remedy. Moreover, the complaint alleges, Mr. Bloch refused to enforce longstanding federal policy protecting federal employees on the basis of their sexual orientation, leaving LGBT employees without any remedy from such discrimination.
Mr. Bloch’s behavior eventually led to OSC employees anonymously exposing his conduct to the public. After he was exposed, the complaint alleges, Bloch undertook a campaign of retaliation against those employees who he believed were responsible. During the midst of this investigation, Mr. Bloch bypassed the agency’s computer technicians and hired the PC-help service “Geeks on Call” to “scrub” three agency computers, making it nearly impossible for forensics experts to restore the data later. This “scrub” of agency computers forms the basis of the criminal charges to which Mr. Bloch has now pled guilty.