Today* Judge Deborah A. Robinson will formally sentence Scott J. Bloch, the former head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). On behalf of the victims of Mr. Bloch's unlawful conduct, attorneys Debra S. Katz and Avi Kumin have written a letter to Judge Robinson urging "the Court to award a sentence that appropriately reflects the severe, long-lasting, and broad impact of his actions."
While Mr. Bloch has pleaded guilty to one act of unlawful conduct – willfully withholding pertinent information from a congressional investigation of his conduct – this charge understates the true scope and impact of Mr. Bloch's lengthy pattern of unlawful conduct. Mr. Bloch also engaged in serious abuses of power in his role as Special Counsel, retaliated against federal employees who sought to prevent or expose his abuses, and then obstructed the ongoing investigation by intimidating OSC employees from cooperating with government investigators and bringing in an outside vendor, Geeks on Call, to wipe information from his computer and those of his deputies.
It is our understanding that the U.S. Attorney's Office intends to support a request by Mr. Bloch that he only receive a sentence of probation.
"Why is DOJ going easy on Bloch, but prosecuting national security whistleblowers so aggressively? There have been athletes who have received stiffer penalties for lying about steroids use," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).
"The magnitude of Scott Bloch's lawlessness, contempt for democracy, and betrayal of the public trust are the stuff of legend," said Mark Cohen, executive director of the Government Accountability Project. "This court's sentence will instruct public officials, now and in the future, whether high office is a license to abuse employees, ignore the law of the land, mislead Congress, and obstruct justice."
** This press release was originally distributed July 19, 2010. The sentencing hearing was postponed at the last minute and rescheduled for today.