Hatch Act for the Modern Age

With primary election season in full swing and the November mid-terms not far off, PASS reminds its members and all federal employees that there are certain restrictions on their political activity. The Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939 that limits certain political activities of federal employees, is changing according to modern times. Recently, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the agency that enforces the law, released updated guidance on the Hatch Act as it relates to social media and email. However, new guidance does not negate traditional rules and regulations and all federal employees should be fully educated before pursuing any politically-related activity.

The OSC website includes a long list of activities in which federal workers may and may not participate. Most importantly, under the Hatch Act, federal employees may NOT do the following:

• Engage in political activity while on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle.
• Use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election.
• Solicit, accept or receive a donation or contribution for a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group.

However, under the Hatch Act, federal employees MAY do the following: