Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire For Rove?

From TPM Muckraker:

You know it's bad news for the White House when agencies you'd never even heard of start launching investigations into the administration.

This time, it's the Office of Special Counsel, a federal investigative unit that's charged with monitoring federal employees, not to be confused with a special counsel or special prosecutor such as Patrick Fitzgerald. The OSC is charged with policing Hatch Act violations and protecting whistleblowers, among other duties. It's a permanent federal agency, and it's prosecutions are not criminal prosecutions.

But the OSC does have teeth. If it successfully prosecutes a federal employee before the Merit Systems Protection Board (which acts as its judge), then that employee can be terminated. That employee, in this instance, is Karl Rove.

For the complete article, click on the title.

For another view, see this:

In addition to charges of “unnecessarily reorganizing the OSC to try to run off internal critics,” [Scott] Bloch was also accused of “failing to enforce a long-standing policy against bias in the federal workplace based on sexual orientation” and “arbitrarily dismissing some personnel complaints and whistle-blower disclosures in an effort to claim reductions in backlogs.” At the time, it was quite evident that Bloch had turned the OSC into just another political arm of the Bush White House-and while they claimed to be supportive of the long-standing policy against discriminating against gays, and supportive of whistleblower statutes, Bloch was busily cooking up excuses for not adhering to the nondiscrimination policy and wantonly dismissing complaints.

So, it’s possible that Bloch’s OSC-led investigation of Rove is evidence of Rove’s waning influence—but it’s also quite possible that it’s evidence of his continued influence, with this ostensibly-independent investigation fated to find no wrongdoing.

Suffice it to say, I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach about whether this investigation is designed to put heat on the White House, or take it off. Wouldn’t it be just spectacularly Rovian for Rove, after resisting like his very life depended on it testifying under oath in front of Congress, chose to “fully cooperate” with a non-criminal investigation covertly designed to exonerate him?

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