Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hatch Act Violation?

Several political satire cartoons lampooning Hilary Clinton are at the Center of a Social Security employee Hatch Act Investigation in Chicago.

The question is whether the e-mailing of political cartoons to others violates the Hatch Act's ban against political activity on the job. A union spokesman for region five social security employees tells viewers that this is taking the Hatch Act too far.

A March 3rd memo from the midwest region five Social Security commissioner says the region is currently investigating a relatively large number of potential violations involving 6 cartoons.

The Hatch Act was adopted in 1939 to prevent prohibited political activity by state, local and federal employees who work at agencies that receive federal dollars for programs and activities.

But e-mail isn't the only way for covered employees to get in to hot water. Below, is an excerpt from an article on Blogs printed in the "Federal Times" by Elise Castelli on March 9, 2008.

Blogs, e-mails land feds in trouble
March 09, 2008
"Blogs have revolutionized how this year’s presidential candidates reach out to voters, but they’ve also increased the ways government employees can run afoul of the Hatch Act.
The Office of Special Counsel, which investigates cases of improper politicking by government employees, is getting more inquiries than ever from feds about how they can use blogs and social networking sites without jeopardizing their jobs this campaign season.
Blogging about politics at work is a no-no, but even blogging off hours could land a fed in trouble under certain circumstances, said Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of OSC’s Hatch Act unit.
Many campaign sites allow supporters to set up their own Web pages or blogs to support a candidate. The danger for feds who set up a page on a campaign-sponsored site: Many of these pages also contain a big, red “donate” button."

The entire article can be found here:

Covered Employees: Inquiries about the Hatch Act may be made in writing or by telephone to:
Hatch Act UnitU.S. Office of Special Counsel1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218Washington, D.C. 20036-4505Tel: (800) 85-HATCH or (800) 854-2824 (202) 254-3650
Requests for Hatch Act advisory opinions (only) may be made by e-mail to:

Additional information is available at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel website:

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