WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”) released a long-awaited Report of Investigation by the Inspector General of the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) today confirming allegations that the former head of OSC, Scott J. Bloch, launched an unlawful campaign to purge OSC of gay and lesbian employees, and to rid the agency of other employees whom he perceived to be troublemakers. According to Debra S. Katz, a partner with Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, the Report confirmed allegations made by a group of OSC employees and a coalition of national whistleblower protection groups in a complaint filed with the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. Three fired OSC employees – along with the Government Accountability Project, the Project on Government Oversight, the Human Rights Campaign, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility – filed their complaint in March 2005 alleging that Bloch had violated the very laws he was charged with enforcing, deliberately targeting gays and lesbians and attempting to silence and intimidate OSC staff who spoke up in opposition to these actions. Click here to read the March 2005 complaint.
In the report released today, the OPM IG concluded that Bloch decided before taking office as Special Counsel to reverse longstanding OSC policy which viewed sexual orientation discrimination as a prohibited personnel practice, and made the elimination of legal protection for gay and lesbian federal employees one of his "highest and most immediate priorities for action by OSC under his direction." In February 2004, one month after assuming office, Bloch ordered that all references to the OSC's jurisdiction over complaints of sexual orientation discrimination by federal workers be "scrubbed" from OSC's website and official publications. The OPM IG concluded that Bloch harbored a "negative personal attitude toward homosexuality and individuals whose orientation is homosexual," that he had insisted he "had a license" to get rid of homosexual employees and "to ship them out." According to the OPM Inspector General, Bloch's official email account contained "crude and vulgar messages containing anti-homosexual themes that appeared to have been forwarded from his personal email."
The OPM IG also concluded that Bloch intended to carry out a "purge" gay and lesbian employees by forcibly transferring them to a newly established OSC field office in Detroit and that Bloch lied to federal investigators about the true reasons for establishing that office. The Report details statements made by Bloch to Lieutenant General (Retired) Richard Trefry, a former Inspector General of the Army, who was president of a consulting firm Bloch hired to perform a management analysis of OSC. General Trefry told investigators that on multiple occasions, Bloch acknowledged that he planned to create the Detroit field office for the express purpose of assigning "homosexual employees, along with others who he (Bloch) viewed as exerting a negative influence on the office."
According to Ms. Katz, who represented the employees and whistleblower groups in this matter, “the OPM report confirms what we had been saying for nearly ten years – that Bloch betrayed the public trust of his office by gutting legal protections of gay and lesbian federal employees OSC is responsible for protecting and by targeting gays and lesbians for removal from federal service because of a homophobic and anti-gay agenda he came into office to carry out.” Katz said, “I am tremendously proud to have fought alongside such a brave group of employees with determined backing from whistleblower-advocacy groups on such an important issue.”