MADELEINE BRAND, host:
"Corruption in the Capital." That's the title of the autobiography Special Counsel Scott Bloch was working on when the FBI raided his home and office last night. That name now seems uncannily appropriate. The investigation appears to be much broader than was originally thought. NPR's Ari Shapiro has the latest.
ARI SHAPIRO: The investigation is looking into whether Bloch politicized his office and abused his power, and the subpoenas are wide-ranging. Sources close to the case tell NPR that agents are looking into Bloch's 2004 investigation of Condoleezza Rice and whether she used federal money for campaign appearances during President Bush's reelection campaign. Rice was then National Security Advisor to the president, and is now Secretary of State. Bloch found that Rice did not violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits partisan activity in federal offices. Investigators may be looking into whether Bloch reached that conclusion in order to curry favor with the White House.
The man handling this case has an unusual background for a prosecutor. NPR has learned that James Mitzelfeld is the man who signed off on the subpoenas for the office of special counsel yesterday. In 1994 Mitzelfeld won the Pulitzer Prize as a reporter for the Detroit News. He uncovered spending abuses at Michigan's House Fiscal Agency. He went on to work in Detroit's U.S. attorney's office, and now he's at the U.S. attorney's office in Washington looking into abuses here.
Mitzelfeld also subpoenaed information about Bloch's investigation into Lurita Doan. Last week the White House asked Doan to resign as head of the General Services Administration. She was accused of giving contracts to a friend, and abusing her authority for political purposes, and the subpoenas also sought documents from a woman at the office of a special counsel named Rebecca McGinley. A source tells NPR the subpoena refers to a problem with compensatory time that McGinley booked during a special assignment a year and a half ago.
Nobody has been charged with a crime yet, but as early as next Tuesday, OSC employees are scheduled to begin testifying before a grand jury here in Washington. The office's leader Scott Bloch remains in his job, and has not commented publicly. As one person close to the case put it, don't expect him to just roll over and walk away. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington.
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