1. Federal agents raided the home and office of Scott Bloch, the Bush-appointed head of the Office of the Special Counsel. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Bloch, who was appointed by President Bush, has been under investigation since 2005 by the Office of Personnel Management for employee claims that he abused his agency's authority, retaliated against its staff and dismissed whistleblower cases without adequate examination. Mr. Bloch couldn't be reached to comment....
The Justice Department joined the case as the inquiry was widened last year to include possible obstruction of justice, which is a criminal offense. The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 28 that in the midst of the inquiry Mr. Bloch used an agency credit card to hire a commercial firm, Geeks on Call, to erase data from his computer and those of former staff...
The Office of Special Counsel, created in the 1970s in the wake of the Watergate scandal, probes sensitive personnel and whistleblower claims by government workers. It also enforces the Hatch Act, which forbids the use of federal resources for partisan political purposes.
2. From the Associated Press
EPA might not limit rocket fuel in water
WASHINGTON (AP) — An EPA official said Tuesday there's a "distinct possibility" the agency won't take action to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has contaminated public water supplies around the country.
Democratic senators called that unacceptable. They argued that states and local communities shouldn't have to bear the expense of cleansing their drinking water of perchlorate, which has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states — or the risk of not doing so.
The toxin interferes with thyroid function and poses developmental health risks, particularly to fetuses.
Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the Environmental Protection Agency, told a Senate hearing that EPA is aware that perchlorate is widespread and poses health risks.
But he said that after years of study, EPA has yet to determine whether regulating perchlorate in drinking water would do much good.Just eight months and two weeks to go...