It has become apparent that Scott Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel, was fired by the Bush Administration. This decision comes more than five months after Bloch became the target of an federal obstruction of justice probe. Bloch's tenure has been a tumultuous one, and federal government whistleblowers have paid a heavy price.
The National Whistleblower Center's President, Stephen M. Kohn, issued the following statement upon the termination of Special Counsel Scott Bloch:
"The termination of Special Counsel Scott Bloch represents the low point in the history of the Office of Special Counsel. Originally intended to protect whistleblowers, the Office has never fulfilled its promise. Since its inception, the Office has ignored or ruled against the overwhelming majority of federal employee whistleblowers. The institution itself has never acted as a "safe harbor" for whistleblowers. Under Special Counsel Bloch, the Office imploded. Ignoring its mission to protect whistleblowers, the management of the OSC turned on its own staff."
"Change must come to the OSC and it must come fast. We call upon the new President and Congress to ensure that the position of Special Counsel be filled by a truly experienced and competent advocate for whistleblowers. Moreover, Congress and the President must act in a bi-partisan manner to ensure that never again will the Office be politicized and used as a patronage slot. The problem rests with both the President and Congress. Historically, Congress has failed to exercise any oversight concerning the appointment of the Special Counsel. That must end. This position is critically important for the enforcement of federal laws and the protection of taxpayer dollars. Employees risk their careers to do the right thing and report misconduct and abuses of power. The new President must do the right thing and appoint a Special Counsel who can protect these American heroes. Congress must do its job and demand that the next Special Counsel has the background, experience and expertise demanded under the Whistleblower Protection Act."