Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act against the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) alleging that a series of non-competitive hires have taken place. PEER, a non-profit network for whistle-blowers who identify government actions that violate environmental laws, issued a news release on November 17 stating its objections to the personnel policies of Special Counsel Scott Bloch.
In its news release, PEER identifies Bloch as a “religious conservative” who has hired “recent graduates of the ultra-conservative Ave Maria law school.” It also quotes Jeffrey Ruch, the director of PEER, saying that “Scott Bloch’s personnel practices are taken straight from The DaVinci Code rather than the civil service manual.”
Catholic League president William Donohue responded as follows:
“PEER was against Bloch’s appointment as Special Counsel from the day President Bush selected him. And that is because PEER, a left-wing consortium of activist lawyers, was upset with Bloch’s resume: Bloch had been deputy director and counsel to Bush’s Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Justice.
“PEER’s hostility to the public expression of religion is not hard to document. It has lobbied Congress to remove an eight-foot cross atop the Mojave National Preserve in California, and it has sought to censor books at National Park bookstores that offer a Christian interpretation of nature. So it comes as no surprise that it now objects to orthodox Catholics being hired by the OCS.
“What is surprising, however, is PEER’s boldness: it is not every day that Catholic bashers put their bigotry on public display. By referencing The DaVinci Code to make his point, Ruch seeks to conjure up images of maniacal Catholics who conspire together to take over society through any and all means. Lucky for him real Catholics practice restraint.”