Prosecutors say former whistleblower protector deleted records

Miranda Fleschert | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | April 23, 2010

The former head of an office tasked with protecting government whistleblowers from retaliation will plead guilty to charges he tampered with public records by hiring a private technician to delete information off his computer while at the Office of Special Counsel.

In a two-page document known as an information, which is filed when it is expected the accused will plead guilty, federal prosecutors allege that Scott J. Bloch, who headed the Office of Special Counsel during the Bush administration, withheld information during a 2008 congressional investigation into whether he had his computer, and those of other political appointees, professional "scrubbed," The Washington Post reported.

The FBI initiated a probe into whether Bloch had his files deleted after allegations surfaced that the director wanted to erase evidence that he violated the Hatch Act by engaging in prohibited political campaign activity while holding a government position. Any such deletions would result in the destruction of countless potential public records under the Freedom of Information Act.