On the eve of former Scott Bloch’s criminal sentencing hearing, Dave Nolan hoped to send a message to President Obama; the Office of Special Counsel needs change, too. Scott Bloch is scheduled to be sentenced today, July 20th, for withholding information from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about having files on his computer professionally deleted in 2006. Under the terms of Bloch’s plea, he could receive up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Photo: Dave Nolan and NWC Intern Kevin Heade
While Bloch’s tenure from 2004 to 2008 may represent a new low for the OSC, Nolan is intent on transforming the entire operation of the Office of Special Counsel. Comparing Bloch to his predecessors, Nolan said, "Special Counsel Bloch was only 'special' in that unlike his predecessors, Reagan appointee Alex Kozinski and Clinton appointee Elaine Kaplan, he was the only one accused of retaliating against his own agency employees for perceived sexual preference. Like the decisions of MSPB members such as Beth Slavet, rights for federal employees by OSC were never expanded."
Nolan is actively seeking a nomination as Special Counsel from President Obama. “After 31 years of the OSC not protecting federal employees, we need a new direction,” Nolan said today. “The law is on our side, but without an effective OSC, it doesn’t matter what the law says. It is like moving chairs on the Titanic; if you don’t have an organization that will investigate and prosecute cases, then the laws can’t help. With me at the helm, the OSC will set a level playing field,” explained Nolan.
Bill Dougan, National President of the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) supported Nolan. “Federal employees are reticent to blow the whistle. They fear retaliation from management. They can’t do it on their own, federal employees need a strong ally in the OSC,” Dougan said, adding, “Apathy over action, silence over speaking out is the norm as rank and file employees are effectively muzzled. We need to call on President Obama to fill the position with all due speed, and Dave Nolan is the best person for the job.”
Jim Faller of U.S. Justice Watch stressed that, “the OSC is the protector of the most important watchdogs, government employees.” Faller warned that for “President Obama’s enormous positive change to continue, we need to ensure government employees can come forward when something goes wrong. The OSC needs to be headed by a moral, competent, and experienced individual such as Dave Nolan.”
*This post drafted by NWC intern Kevin Heade