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Federal Agency to Probe White House Political Activities


A small federal agency that safeguards government employees from political coercion is investigating the activities of President Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove.

The head of the Office of Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, says that his wide-ranging investigation covers allegations of political pressure on federal workers and the reason behind the controversial firing of the U.S. federal prosecutor in New Mexico, David Iglesias.

Reports say the investigation began after several employees complained that members of Rove's team were pressuring them to support Republican candidates in key House and Senate races in 2008.

The office also will examine alleged use of White House e-mail by the Republican National Party. The probe is meant to determine whether the Bush administration had improper influence over government employees' political decision-making.

Bloch, who was appointed by President Bush to the post in 2003, promised his office will do a thorough and impartial job.

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