Mr. Bloch, who was appointed by President Bush, has been under investigation since 2005 by the Office of Personnel Management for employee claims that he abused his agency's authority, retaliated against its staff and dismissed whistleblower cases without adequate examination. Mr. Bloch couldn't be reached to comment.
The Justice Department joined the case as the inquiry was widened last year to include possible obstruction of justice, which is a criminal offense. The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 28 that in the midst of the inquiry Mr. Bloch used an agency credit card to hire a commercial firm, Geeks on Call, to erase data from his computer and those of former staff.
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The Office of Special Counsel, created in the 1970s in the wake of the Watergate scandal, probes sensitive personnel and whistleblower claims by government workers. It also enforces the Hatch Act, which forbids the use of federal resources for partisan political purposes.
Among the office's recent inquiries was whether former White House political director Karl Rove and others improperly used U.S. agencies to help elect Republicans.
Mr. Bloch's investigation of the White House political operation began after a Rove deputy gave a series of political presentations to government agencies on Republican prospects in specific congressional races. Mr. Bloch's office wanted to know whether such presentations violated the Hatch Act. A task force interviewed officials at more than a dozen agencies and examined White House emails but found few clear violations, lawyers close to the case said. The investigations remain pending.
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