Monday, January 5, 2015
D.C. Bar Cites California Suspension, Bans Ex-Federal Official
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Scott Bloch, a former head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, received a temporary D.C. Bar suspension last week following a disciplinary action against him in California, the Blog of Legal Times has reported.
Earlier this year, State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz ordered Bloch, who headed the OSC—an office that protects federal whistleblowers—between 2003 and 2008 under President George W. Bush, to serve two years’ probation, including 30 days of actual suspension.
She found that Bloch had depredated his government-issued computer, resulting in a misdemeanor conviction, and that he knowingly gave misleading testimony to a U.S. House committee investigating the deletion of files from the computer.
The Office of Chief Trial Counsel sought a two-year suspension, claiming Bloch was trying to conceal some unspecified information from being discovered. Bloch claimed that he hired an outside firm to perform a “seven-level wipe” of his laptop solely because he wanted to put an end to operating problems he was having with the device, and Armendariz said the OCTC had offered “mere innuendo,” and not clear and convincing evidence, to support its claim. .
She also cited significant mitigating evidence, including the testimony of 26 character witnesses regarding Bloch’s charitable work and sterling reputation. He practiced law in Kansas for 17 years before joining the federal government, and is now a sole practitioner in the nation’s capital.
Bloch, whose undergraduate and law degrees are from the University of Kansas, was admitted in the District of Columbia Bar in 2008 and the State Bar of California in 2009.
Lawrence Bloom, senior staff attorney for the D.C. Office of Bar Counsel, told the BLT Bloch received his D.C. Bar suspension last Monday in connection with the sanction in California. Bloom declined to elaborate, saying more details would come in a brief his office would file with the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Nossaman partner Paul Knight, representing Bloch, said the D.C. Bar suspension was “kind of a nonevent,” saying he’d expected the action in light of the sanction in California and won’t contest it. “It’s a good thing,” Knight said. “That resolves all his bar matters.”
Bloch was a controversial figure at OSC, where he was accused of closing hundreds of cases without investigation, of transferring a group of employees from Washington, D.C. to Detroit because they were gay, and retaliating against workers who complained about his job performance.
In 2013, Bloch was sentenced to serve 24 months on probation and a day in jail after he pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge.
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