Doan, Bloch trade barbs over leaked report

The finger-pointing over who leaked an investigative report about General Services Administration Administrator Lurita Doan’s politicking in her federal office continues as Special Counsel Scott Bloch denies leaking the report and accuses Doan of contriving the whole thing.

Bloch fired back at Michael Nardotti, Doan’s attorney, saying Nardotti's charge that Bloch leaked the report is false, according to a letter sent May 25.

“It appears to us that your client is attempting to throw up roadblocks to the official investigation of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel,” Bloch wrote. “Indeed, one could construe this ruse as further obstruction, attempting to prevent completion of our investigation and report to the president.”

Nardotti rebutted Bloch’s assertion in a return letter today.

“The damage done to Administrator Doan by the public release of the report in any form -- without the mitigating effect of a meaningful response -- cannot be undone,” Nardotti wrote. “To suggest that the administrator could somehow benefit from such self-inflicted damage is ridiculous.”

The OSC report was leaked to the media last week, before Doan had a chance to respond to it.

The tussle centers on OSC’s investigation of a Jan. 26 brown-bag lunch that Doan attended at GSA headquarters. A White House political aide gave a presentation about where Republicans need help and where Democrats are weak in the upcoming 2008 elections.

At the lunch, Doan allegedly asked, “How can we help our candidates?”

OSC’s investigation determined that she meant Republican candidates and thus violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity in federal buildings or during work hours.

That incident may cost Doan her job as administrator, which she has held for a year.

Bloch said OSC will wait for Doan’s response to the report, which is due June 1, and then send the report to President Bush. He will make the final decision about Doan’s future.

In the leaked report, Bloch does not make a recommendation to the president about whether Doan should keep her job.

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