Waxman Asks Bloch to Step Down

by Craig Jennings, 7/30/2008

House Committee on Oversight Government Reform chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) has written a letter to Office of Special Council chief Scott Bloch asking him to resign. The letter follows months of allegations of misconduct by Bloch and assertions that Bloch's presence at the OSC is undermining its ability to carry out its mission of investigating personnel policy violations within the government.

Over the past several months, however, it has become clear OSC's mission is not being served as effectively as it could be. Earlier this month, your top deputy, James Byrne, the most senior career official at OSC, resigned his Senior Executive Service position. In Mr. Byrne's resignation letter, he stated that "the mission, independence, and very existence of the Office of Special Counsel are - and shall remain- at risk." He also called for your replacement.

The mission of the agency should be the paramount consideration. It is for this reason that I have concluded that OSC would be better served with new leadership and urge you to step down as the Special Counsel. Such a step would be in the best interests of the agency and federal employees it is charged to protect.

CongressDaily notes that Waxman's call for Bloch's resignation is noteworthy because, despite Republican calls for his ouster, Waxman has remained somewhat of a defender of Bloch. This, apparently, has changed.

Republicans like Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Tom Davis, R-Va., and Rep. Darrell Issa of California, have criticized Bloch's high-profile probes of alleged illegal political activity by Bush administration officials for more than a year, allowing Bloch's defenders to cast their calls for his exit as partisan. But due to his support for Bloch's investigations, Waxman has long defended Bloch, Davis has suggested.
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