Corrupt Investigative Office Investigating Corrupt Investigator: Is Your Head Spinning?

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We’ve got a parallel to the situation at the Office of Special Counsel. The OSC, tasked with looking into the claims of federal whistleblowers and investigating violations of the Hatch Act, has been so willfully ineffective and so corrupted by director Scott Bloch that it is now under federal investigation.

(The OSC is currently in the news because it is leading the ongoing and somewhat questionable investigation of Karl Rove.)

The Washington Post reports today that the inspector general of the Department of Commerce, charged with unearthing malfeasance at the department, is the subject of three government investigations. The investigations are looking into things as serious as misuse of budget and retaliation against detractors, and things as silly as cutting a conference short to go gambling in Atlantic City.

Here’s where it gets circular. Claims against the Dep’t of Commerce IG, whose name is Johnnie Frazier, were made by his staffers, meaning they applied for whistleblower protections with the OSC. The OSC is one of the bodies currently investigating Frazier.

So a corrupted body under investigation for mishandling investigations is investigating a corrupt investigator.

Inspires confidence, no?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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