CBS Detroit, MLive, Business Insider, and Legal Times all have stories on the just-released federal investigation report that contains allegations that Scott Bloch, special counsel in the Office of Special Counsel during the Bush administration (2003-2008), created a field office in Detroit specifically for the purpose of transferring seven employees found to be objectionable, including for their sexual orientation. According to the report, within three months of assuming his responsibilities as Special Counsel, Bloch initiated several policy, organizational, and programmatic changes, including reversing the policy of the previous Special Counsel by deciding that personnel actions taken against an employee because of his or her sexual orientation would not be deemed prohibited personnel practices under 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(IO). From the report:
[T]he investigative team adduced facts which reflect that Mr. Bloch and Mr. Renne may have been motivated in their actions by a negative personal attitude toward homosexuality and individuals whose orientation is homosexuaL Foremost among these were the statements witnessed, and described to the investigative team by, retired Army Lieutenant General Richard Tretry, an MPRI vice-president who met frequently with Messrs. Bloch and Renne as part of MPRI's contract work, Mr. Bloch indicated to General Trefry that there was a sizeable group of homosexuals employed by OSC, which had developed during the years prior to his taking office, that he "had a license" to get rid o f homosexual employees, and that he intended to "ship them out." Further, in the portions of Mr. Bloch's official e-mail account that were available to the investigative team, there were crude and vulgar messages containing anti-homosexual themes that appeared to have been forwarded from his personal emaiL The investigative team noted that Mr. Bloch, who stated during his interview with them that as a matter of business practice, he routinely deleted all of his email traffic to avoid "cluttering" his computer, had in fact chosen to retain such items, which were insulting to gay persons. Similarly, Mr. Bloch's public media references to Ms. Kaplan contained repeated, negatively-phrased assertions regarding her sexual orientation. For example, in interviews he granted during 2007, Mr. Bloch described her as a
'lesbian activist,~~ a "public lesbian," a ''well~known gay activist," and similar depictions. While Mr. Bloch's statements did not overtly link her public policies to private personal factors, the investigative team observed that his repeated characterizations of Ms. Kaplan in terms of her sexual orientation (as opposed to her professional qualifications as an employment law attorney with the Federal Government, Federal employee unions, and private-sector law firms) suggests that her personal orientation was significant to him.
In the end, the report says, none of the transfers actually took place because all of the affected employees either obtained employment outside OSC or were separated from the Federal service for refusing to accept their directed reassignments.
Note: this post previously situated the Office of Special Counsel within the Department of Justice. In fact, the Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency.