Bloch, who was appointed by President Bush to head an agency that protects government whistleblowers and enforces the law against political activity in government agencies, has filed a 63-page, $202 million lawsuit against top Bush adviser Karl Rove, former Virginia congressman Tom Davis and dozens of others for allegedly trying to thwart his office’s efforts. When they failed, he claims, they launched a bogus criminal investigation to drive him out of his job.
The RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) suit, which Bloch and his wife filed pro se, meaning as their own attorneys, last month in Fairfax County Circuit Court, also names other officials as defendants, including Lurita Doan, who was forced from her job as General Services Administration chief amidst allegations of political activity (which Bloch investigated) at her agency, and Clay Johnson, former deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Bloch, now a lawyer here, also included some private groups that protect whistleblowers, such as the Government Accountability Project (GAP) , Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
Those groups had called for an investigation of Bloch for allegedly retaliating against employees and for improperly dismissing whistleblower cases. (Since the OSC couldn’t investigate itself, Johnson in 2005 asked the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general to investigate. Bloch says that it was former White House counsel Harriet Miers who ordered Johnson to bring in the IG, but, oddly, she’s not a named defendant.)
The OPM notified PEER last week that “the investigation [of Bloch] is still in an open status” and “we are withholding documents related to it from release.” No word as to how many more years the investigation will take.
Bloch, in late 2006, famously called Geeks on Call to conduct a “seven-level” scrub of his office computer’s hard drive and the laptops used by his top deputies. That operation, which Bloch said was needed to deal with a computer virus, makes any data retrieval virtually impossible. As part of his guilty plea last year, he admitted that he didn’t tell congressional staff that he knew the procedure would wipe most everything out.
In the suit, spotted by Courthouse News Service, Bloch accuses the defendants of a stunning array of misdeeds, including conspiring to “violate civil an [sic] constitutional rights” by “selective and vindictive investigation and threatened prosecution and wilfull [sic] subornation of perjury and tampering [with] grand jury proceedings” as well as “intentional and negligent infliction of mental and emotional distress” and for violating his rights to “Free Speech, Petition of Congress, Freedom of Religion,” among other rights, and for defamation, slander and libel.