|NWC Calls for Immediate Appointment of New Special Counsel|
Washington D.C. April 23, 2010. Yesterday, former U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch was charged with criminal contempt of Congress for withholding "pertinent" information from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Bloch was forced to resign in October 2008 amid allegations that he retaliated against employees and dismissed whistleblower cases without fully investigating them.
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center issued the following statement:
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) was disgraced under Bloch and the taxpayers are the ones who suffered. The legal guardian for protecting whistleblowers, was not only engaged in retaliation, but we now learn he criminally covered up misconduct.
Since its inception in 1978, the Office of Special Counsel has failed to live up to its mission of protecting whistleblowers and has been dominated by political appointees. Although the track record of the OSC has been highly criticized over the past 30 years, having the former head of whistleblower enforcement charged with serious criminal misconduct highlights how OSC has been abused by politicians intent on having the foxes guard the chicken coop.
Congress and the President must respond by immediately appointing a new Special Counsel. The new appointee must be top notch and must have the background and experience, not only as a proven strong advocate for whistleblowers, but as a tough and aggressive enforcement official. For too long the OSC has been seeped in the culture of cover-up. Whistleblowers need a real advocate and a powerful voice within the administration. A new standard must be enforced and never again should this office be disgraced.
President Obama promised during the campaign to appoint a Special Counsel with 'expertise in whistleblower law and a firm commitment to protecting whistleblowers.' It has been over 2 years since President Obama made this promise, and no nomination has even been sent to the Senate for confirmation.