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Certain federal employees in specified executive agencies, generally those dealing with law enforcement or national security, are still subject to more restrictive provisions, similar to the old Hatch Act, which broadly bar such employees from taking an active part in partisan political activities even on their own, off-duty hours. State and local governmental employees whose principal employment "is in connection with an activity which is financed in whole or in part" by federal funds, come within certain limitations on political activity in another part of the "Hatch Act." Such covered State and local employees are prohibited from running for office in a partisan election; using their official authority to influence an election; or attempting to coerce a state or local employee to make a political contribution. It also applies to an employee who is appointed by the President by and with the consent of the Senate, whose position is located within the United States, and who determines policies to be pursued by the United States in relations with foreign powers or in the nationwide administration of Federal laws. Under the [old] Hatch Act, these employees were covered by the prohibition against misusing their official authority to interfere with or affect the result of an election, but they specifically were excluded from all aspects of the prohibition against active partisan political participation. As to the specific activities that are prohibited or may be permitted under the fundraising restriction of the Hatch Act Amendments, the regulations and interpretations of the Office of Personnel Management note that employees in the executive branch may attend a campaign fundraiser, may work behind the scenes in organizing or managing a fundraising event, and may even speak at a fundraising event, but may not be involved personally in the actual solicitation, acceptance or receipt of campaign contributions. See discussion of "necessary expense" doctrine, in Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, supra at 4-14 to 4-20, that the "expenditure must bear a logical relationship to the appropriation sought to be charged," that is, that "it must make a direct contribution to carrying out either a specific appropriation or an authorized agency function for which more general appropriations are available." Id. Decision of the Comptroller General, B-147578, supra at 5: "Consequently, where a determination is, in effect, made by the President, a cabinet officer or other agency head or assistant, that certain activities are in connection with official duties and there is a reasonable basis for such a determination we do not feel that we would be warranted in questioning the expenses incurred in connection with such activities." If travel or other such activities that are political/campaign-related in nature have been paid for by the Government, then such expenses should be reimbursed by a campaign committee in the appropriate manner. The first two relate to coercive activities, while the third relates to candidacy for office: 1. § 1502 Hatch Act Interpretation and Enforcement The provisions of the Hatch Act are interpreted, and complaints of violations investigated by the United States Office of Special Counsel (O.
The Hatch Act statute applies only to civilian officers and employees of the executive branch of the Federal Government. 96-184, "Campaign Activities by Congressional Employees." State or local governmental employees whose principal employment "is in connection with an activity which is financed in whole or in part" by federal funds, come within a particular part of the "Hatch Act." Such State and local employees are prohibited from running for office in a partisan election; using their official authority to influence an election; or attempting to coerce a state or local employee to make a political contribution. Some employees of designated agencies and departments are still restricted in participating in even voluntary, off duty political activities. Coverage Under the Hatch Act The provisions of the Hatch Act Amendments of 1993, in a manner similar to the basic provisions of their predecessor statutes, apply generally to all civilian officers and employees in the executive branch of the Federal Government, other than the President and Vice President. § 5372a); and staff of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Activities Restricted by the Hatch Act Use of Official Authority/Coercion A provision of the new Hatch Act, in a fashion similar to the former law, prohibits any officer or employee in the executive branch of the Federal Government from using his or her official position, authority or influence to affect the results of an election. In contrast to the [old] Hatch Act, the Amendments subject these employees to additional prohibitions. An employee's name may not appear on a fundraiser invitation "as a sponsor of the fundraiser," but may appear on an invitation to a political fundraiser "as a guest speaker as long as the reference in no way suggests that the employee solicits or encourages contributions." one's "official title" may not be used "in connection with fundraising activities," but an employee who "is ordinarily addressed using a general term of address, such as `The Honorable,' may use or permit the use of that term of address for such a purpose." Campaign Contributions and Criminal Prohibitions. Employees may solicit from other federal employees who are fellow members of employee associations and organizations, if the solicited employee is not a subordinate of the employee soliciting, and if the solicitation is made for a multicandidate committee. In addition to the Hatch Act limitations on political activities while on duty or in a federal office, and the general appropriations principles discussed, it should be noted that under ethics regulations Government officers and employees in the executive branch may generally not engage in unofficial, non-governmental activity with Government resources, that is, personnel may not use appropriated funds, or use official federal supplies, equipment or official resources, for any activities which are not "official" Government activities authorized by a department or agency. For a theft or conversion under this statute, the improper use of the Government's property must be in such a manner that "serious interference with ownership rights" of the Government would occur. Employees are barred from using their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election; 2.
Background Employees in the executive branch of the Federal Government have for more than a century lived with certain statutory and regulatory limitations and restrictions upon their partisan political activities. Known as Civil Service Rule 1, this restriction and all of the administrative interpretations under it, were eventually codified in 1939 and made applicable to most executive branch employees in the law commonly called the "Hatch Act." State and local government employees whose official jobs are connected with activities that are federally funded have, since 1940, also come within the purview of a part of the federal "Hatch Act" law regarding Note Act of August 15, 1876, ch. As early as 1801, President Thomas Jefferson had urged the principle of political neutrality for federal employees. Furthermore, by definition and design, the Hatch Act does not apply to employees in the judicial or the legislative branches of the Federal Government. Similarly, the Hatch Act provisions which relate to the permissible political activities of a "State or local officer or employee," generally apply only to State or local governmental personnel who work on federally funded projects, and do not apply on their face to personnel who work for private, non-profit or business organizations merely because they receive federal grant or contract monies. The new Hatch Act Amendments also have added an explicit criminal provision which prohibits any person from intimidating, threatening or coercing or attempting to coerce any covered federal employee to engage in or refrain from political activity, to support or oppose a candidate, or to make or not to make a political contribution. While the language of the statute is very broad, the legislative history, interpretation and application of the provision have been more narrowly focused. In more severe factual circumstances, the use of Government property or resources for personal, non-official purposes to such an extent that the property is deemed to have been wrongfully converted to one's private use, or to have been stolen, would implicate criminal statutory violations. § 734.503 (sometimes referred to as the "hard time formula.") Note Memorandum for the Cabinet, from Abner Mikva, Counsel to the President, "Payment of Expenses Associated with Travel by Senior Administration Officials during the Presidential Campaign," October 18, 1995.
See discussion in Vaughn, "Restrictions on the Political Activities of Public Employees: The Hatch Act and Beyond," 44 George Washington University Law Review 516, 517 (1976). 642, June 3, 1907, amending Civil Service Rule I, which had been adopted originally in 1883 after passage of the Pendleton Act. Employees Still Under Strict "No Politics" Rule It should be noted that certain federal employees in specified executive agencies are not included in the more "relaxed" Hatch Act rules enacted in 1993, and still come under more restrictive provisions similar to the former "no politics" rule of the original Hatch Act. In certain circumstances, and under some programs, it is possible that certain non-profit organizations which are funded under a particular federal program might, under federal statutory law, be expressly designated in the law establishing that program as "State or local" governmental agencies for purposes of those Hatch Act provisions. Fund Raising Activities and Political Contributions All federal officials and employees in the executive branch, other than the President and Vice President, are now substantially restricted in the permissible political fund raising activities in which they may engage. See old Hatch Act cases on use of authority, for example, In the Matter of Mc Leod, CSC No. In a recent matter involving allegations of fundraising telephone calls from the office of the Vice President in the White House, for example, the Attorney General explained that criminal prosecutions under the statute, which had been adopted originally to protect federal employees from coercive and bothersome solicitations in their place of work, would generally be initiated only in the presence of "aggravated" circumstances of violations of the law. State and Local Governmental Employees In addition to the statutory restrictions on political activities by federal employees, there are some employees of State and local governmental units that may come within a certain part of the federal Hatch Act. § 9004.7, and 9034.7; and Office of Personnel Management Regulations for official time and compensation of staff working on campaign matters, 5 C.
Attached to the letter was a news article that quoted Avelenda.
She said she later resigned from her position at the bank in part because of the pressure she received for her political efforts.
The investigative hearings and report focused on the abuses of the merit system and use of public work relief funds (W. A.) to coerce political activities, loyalty and contributions from workers. See 1997 Federal Personnel Guide, Key Communications Group, at 11 (1997); Comm. "Aggravating" factors included evidence of "coercion, knowing disregard of the law, a substantial number of violations, or a significant disruption of government functions." Concerning campaign fund raising solicitations in the White House, it should be noted that the White House has historically been considered a personal "residence" as well as an area containing federal office space for the conduct of official governmental business, and that the Department of Justice has found, therefore, that certain areas and rooms in the White House, depending on their use, are outside of the prohibition on campaign fundraising activities in a "room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties." 3 Op. The Office of Personnel Management has issued regulations specifying those communities in which federal employees may be independent candidates even in partisan elections.
Note discussions in Bolton, The Hatch Act, A Civil Libertarian Defense, American Enterprise United Public Workers, C. Concerning such races, an employee could receive or accept political contributions in connection with that election, but would still be prohibited from soliciting contributions from the general public. § 2635.801 et seq., seek to restrict outside compensation and employment which create a conflict of interest with one's governmental duties (such that an employee would be required to "recuse" himself or herself on governmental matters), or which implicate other ethical issues because of the source of the compensation and/or the duties of the employee receiving the compensation.
Employees in the executive branch of the Federal Government are, however, still restricted by the "Hatch Act" provisions in several specific activities. political contribution from any person ...." The only exception to the fund raising restriction expressed in the statute allows for the solicitation of a fellow member of a federal employee association or federal employee labor organization who is not a subordinate, when that solicitation is for a multicandidate political committee. C maintains a web site on the Internet which provides information on and explanations of the Hatch Act and other matters under their jurisdiction, at While most federal officers and employees may now generally engage in partisan political activities on their own "free time" or "off-duty" hours, federal employees in the executive branch of the Federal Government are still restricted by the "Hatch Act" provisions in several specific activities. National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO, 413 U. 548, 564-567 (1973), upholding Hatch Act against First Amendment challenge. § 2302, added by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, and 5 U. Fielding, Counsel to the President, February 14, 1984 and "Memorandum for the Heads of All Departments and Agencies," from C. The statute would, therefore, continue to bar even an "independent" candidacy by a federal employee in an otherwise "partisan" election. All officers and employees in the executive branch, other than the President and Vice President, are still generally restricted in the following ways: Session (1939). The percentage of merit system civil service employees grew from 10% of the federal workforce at the time of the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Act in 1883, to 32 % of the federal workforce at the time of the passage of the Hatch Act in 1939, to the current figure of more than 80% of all federal workers being in the competitive civil service. Boyden Gray, Counsel to the President, November 18, 1991, to "Memorandum for the Heads of All Agencies and Departments," from Abner J. Statement of Attorney General Reno, December 2, 1997. In addition to the general exception for candidacies in a non-partisan election, the Hatch Act provides that regulations issued by the Office of Personnel Management may establish that employees in certain communities near the Washington, D. metropolitan area, or in other communities where the majority of voters residing there are federal employees, may participate in certain local political activities which might otherwise be prohibited, such as the acceptance of political contributions and independent candidacies in partisan elections. The 1993 Hatch Act Amendments thus removed many of the most restrictive limitations in federal law on employees' personal, off-duty voluntary activity, speech and expression, while at the same time provided more express statutory prohibitions on work place politicking. and 1211 et seq., creating Merit Systems Protection Board and Office of Special Counsel. Employees who remain subject to the old Hatch Act-type of prohibition include those employees who are not appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate in the following agencies: the Federal Election Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Special Counsel, the Office of Criminal Investigation of the Internal Revenue Service, the Employees in the Office of the President, including those employed directly in the White House, have historically come within the general provisions of the Hatch Act since its enactment in 1939, although some were expressly exempt from the strict "no politics" portion of Section 9(a) of the original Act. Office of Investigative Programs of the United States Customs Service, the Office of Law Enforcement of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; employees who are career Senior Executive Service appointees (5 U. The restrictions on being a candidate for office thus bar a federal executive branch employee from running for "any" elective public office, that is, even a State, local or county office, which is filled in an election where "any" of the candidates in the election run as a Democrat or a Republican. The "public" space of federal buildings, lands or parks or other federal property may generally be used for private partisan political activities of candidates or others, as long as such activity does not interfere with the normal official functions and governmental activities in that building or property. There may, in fact, be constitutional limitations on the amount of restraint or prohibition that the government may impose over the free exercise of political speech and activity on or in any area of federal property which is considered a "public forum." See, for example, United States v. In 1993, the provisions of Hatch Act were significantly amended by the "Hatch Act Amendments of 1993" to allow most federal employees to engage in a wide range of voluntary, partisan political activities on their own free time, away from their federal jobs and off of any federal premises. 75, 94-103 (1947); and United States Civil Service Commission v. Note also the emergence of employee protections through recognized bargaining representatives and statutorily required grievance procedures. See debates on Hatch Act and Dempsey Amendment concerning the President's staff in the White House office, 84 Congressional Record 9596-9639, 76th Congress, 1st Sess., July 20, 1939; note 1 Op. Compare "Memorandum for the Heads of All Departments and Agencies," from Fred F. partisan election." However, the regulations make it clear that the election itself must be "non-partisan," that is, "none of the candidates is to be nominated or elected as representing" such political parties. Note General Services Administration regulations on use of public buildings, at 41 C.