The Washington Post is reporting that Carolyn Lerner, head of the Office of Special Counsel, wants to update the Hatch Act.
The Hatch Act is the 72-year-old law that prohibits Federal employees from participating or advocating in most political activities. The Hatch Act prevents any person who receives Federal funds for their employment to run for a political office. But along with its original purpose, the Hatch Act does come with some unintended consequences. One such consequence is that it places extraneous barriers on, or in some cases wholly prohibits, certain state and local government employees who want to run for office.
According to Lerner:
After 9/11, there was a lot of money going to state and local governments from the federal government for security issues and police departments. But it’s also ambulance drivers, whose positions are funded by Medicaid or Medicare funds, who can’t run for county coroner. Deputy sheriffs can’t run for sheriff.
We’ve talked about a guy who’s in a K9 unit in Pennsylvania, and because his dog is funded for federal money, couldn’t run for school board. We had to be in the position of telling this gentleman who wanted to run for school that he couldn’t because his dog was funded from federal funds. That’s ridiculous, that’s absurd.
Do you think the Hatch Act needs to be reformed? Do you know of any state or local govies who have had grievances with the Hatch Act?
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