Karl Rove Under Investigation by Office of Special Counsel

Last night I posted a link to Bush administration officials who are having legal difficulties. It is already out of date due to the addition of another investigation into Karl Rove’s behavior:

Most of the time, an obscure federal investigative unit known as the Office of Special Counsel confines itself to monitoring the activities of relatively low-level government employees, stepping in with reprimands and other routine administrative actions for such offenses as discriminating against military personnel or engaging in prohibited political activities.

But the Office of Special Counsel is preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington, launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that for more than six years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

“We will take the evidence where it leads us,” Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee, said in an interview Monday. “We will not leave any stone unturned.”

Note that this is different from the special prosecutors involved in recent high profile investigations. The Office of the Special Counsel is a permanent office which monitors federal employees. TPM Muckracker has more on the office:

This time, it’s the Office of Special Counsel, a federal investigative unit that’s charged with monitoring federal employees, not to be confused with a special counsel or special prosecutor such as Patrick Fitzgerald. The OSC is charged with policing Hatch Act violations and protecting whistleblowers, among other duties. It’s a permanent federal agency, and it’s prosecutions are not criminal prosecutions.

But the OSC does have teeth. If it successfully prosecutes a federal employee before the Merit Systems Protection Board (which acts as its judge), then that employee can be terminated.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    janet says:

    I am a little suspicious of this–like it will be a way for Bush to say Rove has been investigated thoroughly and he has done nothing improper.

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