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Hatch Act

Hatch Act

The Hatch Act, 5 U. S. C. 7321-7326, is federal legislation which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity.  It Limits certain political activities of most executive branch employees, prohibits employees from politicizing the work place, applies to employees working in the executive branch of the federal government and includes employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Here is What You Can’t Do

VA employees

  • May not be a candidate for nomination or election to public office in a partisan election
  • May not knowingly solicit or discourage the participation in any political activity of anyone who has business before their employing office
  • May not use his/her official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election
  • May not use his/her official title or position while engaged in political activity
  • May not invite subordinate employees to political events or otherwise suggest to subordinates that they attend political events or undertake any partisan political activity
  • May not solicit or accept or receive a donation or contribution for a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group
  • May not host a political fundraiser
  • May not invite others to a political fundraiser
  • May not sell tickets to a political fundraiser
  • May not use any email account or social media to distribute, send, or forward content that solicits political contributions
  • May not engage in political activity—i.e., activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group—while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle
  • May not distribute campaign materials or items
  • May not display campaign materials or items
  • May not perform campaign related chores
  • May not wear or display partisan political buttons, t-shirts, signs or other items
  • May not make political contributions to a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group
  • May not post a comment to a blog or social media site that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group
  • May not use any email account or social media to distribute, send, or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group

 

Here is What You Can Do

VA employees

  • May be candidates for public office in a nonpartisan election
  • May register and vote as they choose
  • May assist in voter registration drives
  • May participate in nonpartisan campaigns
  • May contribute money to political campaigns, political parties, or partisan political groups
  • May attend political fundraising functions
  • May attend and be active at political rallies and meetings
  • May join and be active members of political clubs or parties
  • May hold office in political clubs or parties
  • May campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, or municipal ordinances
  • May sign nominating petitions
  • May circulate nominating petitions
  • May campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections
  • May make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections
  • May distribute campaign literature in partisan elections
  • May volunteer to work on a partisan political campaign
  • May express opinions about candidates and issues. If the expression is political activity, however—i.e., activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group—then the expression is not permitted while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle

 

VA employees who violate the Hatch Act are subject to a range of disciplinary actions, including removal from federal service, reduction in grade, debarment from federal service for a period not to exceed 5 years, suspension, letter of reprimand, or a civil penalty not to exceed $1000.

 

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