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.I imagine that it will all depend on how independent this unit is. Independent enough to launch the investigation I would imagine - though the cynic in me wonders if this will just be a whitewash so the White House can say 'Look, nothing to see here.'
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.
The 106-person Office of Special Counsel has never conducted such a broad and high-profile inquiry in its history. One of its primary missions has been to enforce the Hatch Act, a law enacted in 1939 to preserve the integrity of the civil service.
Bloch said the new investigation grew from two narrower inquiries his staff had begun in recent weeks.Watch this space.
One involved the fired U.S. attorney from New Mexico, David C. Iglesias.
The other centered on a PowerPoint presentation that a Rove aide, J. Scott Jennings, made at the General Services Administration this year.
That presentation listed recent polls and the outlook for battleground House and Senate races in 2008. After the presentation, GSA Administrator Lorita Doan encouraged agency managers to "support our candidates," according to half a dozen witnesses. Doan said she could not recall making such comments.