You may remember Scott Bloch, who headed the Office of Special Counsel during the Bush administration, the agency that is charged with protecting whistleblowers and protecting federal employees from discrimination and political interference. He was fired in the waning days of the Bush administration after the FBI raided his office and found that he had used government funds to erase hard drives that contained evidence in several active investigations into his own misconduct. Now an Inspector General’s report finds even more evidence of wrongdoing on his part:
The former head of the Office of Special Counsel “wanted to ‘ship out’” all the agency’s gay employees to Detroit, according to a government report released Wednesday.
Special Counsel Scott Bloch, who served under the Bush administration from 2003 to 2007, established a field office in Detroit and reassigned several gay employees to the new location. But there is no evidence that those reassignments “were taken for a legitimate business purpose of the agency,” according to the report released by Inspector General Patrick McFarland.
“Mr. Bloch and his immediate staff offered an array of ostensible explanations [for the reassignments] in press releases, Congressional testimony, and interviews with the investigative team, seeking to link the reassignments to the bona fide operational needs of the agency,” the report stated. “However, our investigation developed evidence which tended to undermine the proffered explanations.”
The report suggests the reassignments were instead based on anti-gay sentiments.
Richard Trefry, a government contractor, told investigators that Bloch “spontaneously explained” his desire to “ship out” a number of gay employees. Bloch allegedly told him he “had a license to do this.” Trefry said Bloch seemed to be “very determined” to carry out these intentions.
Trefry also claimed Bloch said he wanted to reassign “homosexuals and other employees who [he viewed as] morale problems” to the new location in Detroit.
You can read the IG’s reporter here.
My old friend Tim Sandefur knew Bloch when they were both Lincoln Fellows with the Claremont Institute. Let’s just say he didn’t have much nice to say about the man:
First, Bloch is one of the most extreme theocrats I have ever met. During our time together in the Lincoln Fellows program six years ago, Bloch made it clear that he sees his Catholic faith as fundamentally opposed to the legacy of Enlightenment political philosophy, including the Declaration of Independence and the principle of separation of church and state. These things were, he repeatedly argued, rooted in Protestant bigotry against the church. When I mentioned that, among other things, the Pope had sworn out a death warrant on Elizabeth I, Bloch brushed it off. “Well, he didn’t have the authority to do that.” Oh, I see. He knows better than the pope–and finds such squabbles irrelevant in the face of the allegedly thoughtless bigotry of English and American classical liberals. I do not consider this a minor or academic issue. Bloch is the most extreme anti-secularist I have ever had close contact with. When folks at the Claremont Institute are trying to persuade you to be a little more secular, you’ve gone over some deep end, somewhere, no? Bloch is among the leaders of the very worst elements of religious conservatism in the United States. (And, of course, any critique of his extreme theocratic ideology he simply rejected as “anti-Catholic bigotry,” a concept whose abuse I’ve blogged about before.)
And that explains, I think, the other two points: second, Bloch’s intense ideological hostility to homosexual equality explains his efforts at OSC to restrict the use of civil rights laws for gays complaining of discrimination–even in the face of direct orders to the contrary from the George Bush White House. Again, when folks in the Bush Administration are trying to persuade you to be a little less hostile to gay rights, you’ve gone over some deep end, somewhere…
The Republican party’s relationship with the religious right is a combination of sincere ideological commitment to mysticism and the eradication of Enlightenment principles–and an insincere, even cynical desire to exploit those who share that mysticism. In Bloch’s case, that tiger bit the Administration time and time again, and it is only now getting around to doing something.
Bloch was also the guy who made sure that the OSC issued a ridiculous report on Richard Sternberg that it did not have the grounds or the authority to put out, lending credence to the utterly false claim that Sternberg was discriminated against because of his religious views by the National Museum of Natural History.