GovLaunch: Some Hatch Act Restrictions Lifted for Northern Virginia Feds

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    Patrick Fiorenza

    Gov Executive reports today that most Federal employees living in King George County, Virginia, may become partially exempt from some of the political activity restrictions under the Hatch Act. The restrictions on political activity would be lifted under a proposed rule from the Office of Personnel Management.

    The first draft of the rule would allow federal employees who live in King County to run as independent candidates for election to local partisan political office. Gov Executive reports, “The exemption also would allow certain federal workers to solicit, accept or receive a political contribution as, or on behalf of, an independent candidate for partisan political office in local elections. In addition, they could receive political contributions on behalf of a party-affiliated candidate for local partisan political office. The same exemption would apply to soliciting or accepting volunteer campaign services.”

    There would still be restrictions on exempted employees:

    • Running as the representative of a political party for local partisan political office
    • Soliciting a political contribution on behalf of an individual who is a candidate for local partisan political office and who represents a political party
    • Participating in political activity while on duty, in a government workplace or while wearing a uniform, badge or other insignia identifying them as a federal worker

    Gov Exec highlight numerous cities that receive exemptions to the Hatch Act. They also commented that the Obama Administration is attempting to provide more clarity to the law, as reports of improper political activity has increased since 2010.

    How should do we decide which federal employees are exempt from certain provisions of the Hatch Act?

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