Attorney General

Watchdog Complains DOJ Is Impeding His Investigation

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The head of a political watchdog agency investigating the politicization of the U.S. Justice Department under Alberto Gonzales is complaining that the department is impeding his investigation.

Scott Bloch, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, said in a letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times that department officials are refusing to release documents and answer his written questions.

The department wants Bloch to wait until it finishes its own internal investigation, the Times story says. Bloch, a controversial figure in his own right, oversees the agency responsible for enforcing the Hatch Act, which limits use of government resources for political activities.

Reports earlier this month had said the DOJ’s own investigation of whether politics influenced the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys was heating up, and could produce startling news before the November election.

Meanwhile Bloch’s office is reviewing a separate complaint of politicization at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Civil rights groups complain that a 2004 Justice Department legal opinion authorized a Republican panel member’s decision to switch parties to stay on the commission, the newspaper says.

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