Bloch Pushed Underlings To Counter Negative Press With Comment Posts

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June 13, 2008 6:33 p.m.
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We just learned that the head of the U.S. Office of Special Council, whose office and home were raided by federal agents last month, had a habit of instructing employees to go online and post comments rebutting news stories that he perceived as negative, according to a report from CongressDaily

“That did go on,” said a former employee who has been involved in the activity. “Bloch would suggest posting things in the comments section. … There’d be a negative article about Scott’s involvement on something … and [the] comment would be something like ‘This Bloch guy is doing a good job.” Two former OSC employees have gone so far as to describe Bloch as thin-skinned and “obsessed” with his press coverage.

Admittedly, Bloch has gotten some bad press in recent years. The man running the office in charge of investigating whistle-blower complaints, Bloch himself came under investigation in 2005 for retaliating against whistle blowers.

Then the feds got involved, suspicious that he was obstructing justice when he had a firm called “Geeks on Call” delete a batch of office emails potentially related to the investigation.

Meanwhile, through it all, Bloch still found time to worry about what everyone is saying about him, especially in his home state.

The employee suggested at least one OSC worker posted comments on the Web sites of such publications as the Washington Post, Topeka Capital-Journal, and the Lawrence Journal World. The two Kansas-based publications have written about Bloch because he is from the state.

In another instance confirmed by CongressDaily, an OSC employee who has not served in the military identified himself as “A Combat Vet” in an online response to a July 13, 2007, article on GovernmentExecutive.com. In the article, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Republicans faulted Bloch for his use of personal e-mail to discuss agency business.

The anonymous posting said news organizations were devoting too little coverage to OSC’s enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which bars discrimination against people based on service in the armed services.

“Where is the coverage of USERRA?” the posting asked. “OSC helped my buddy out when he couldn’t get his job back, and it doesn’t seem like anybody is checking into how it helps veterans. … Who the hell cares if Bloch sent an email about congresscritters goofing off and playing pattycake. This USERRA issue is a huge deal for us who served. Does anyone give a crap?”

TPMmuckraker has tracked Bloch’s travails pretty closely over the past several months. We don’t have any indication his underlings were posting comments here — but it does make us curious.

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