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May 7, 2014

Many state and local government workers are now allowed to run for public office reports: If you're a state or local public employee with an eye on public office, you may be in luck.

The Office of Personnel Management issued a final rule Monday that implements the 2012 Hatch Act Modernization Act. The change, which goes into effect June 4, clears the way for most state and local employees to seek partisan elected office.

The change covers those who work in programs financed in part or in whole by federal funds. Workers whose salaries are paid entirely through federal grants or loans will remain barred from running for elected office.

Previously, all non-federal government employees working on projects that receive any federal funds were barred from seeking an elected office, even if that money made up only a small percentage of their pay. -- Rule change allows most state and local government workers to run for partisan office |

April 3, 2012

Hatch Act strikes again -- this time in Baldwin County

The Mobile Press-Register reports: Scott Taylor, who cruised to victory last month in the Republican primary for a district judge position in Baldwin County, may be in violation of a Depression-era law designed to prevent federal funds from influencing elections.

The Hatch Act, named for the senator who sponsored the law in 1939, forbids federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities. It also applies to state and local government workers whose principal employment is connected to activities financed in whole or in part by the federal government.

As one of Baldwin County's 2 deputy chief assistant district attorneys, Taylor helps supervise other prosecutors there. Federal funds do not pay Taylor's salary, but a federal Project Safe Neighborhoods grant does pay a portion of the salary of at least one employee in the office. ...

Members of both parties have sponsored efforts to remove state and local government employees from Hatch Act scrutiny, and even the head of the Office of Special Counsel, Carolyn Lerner, has supported the reforms. "She believes it to be far too intrusive in state and local elections," said Ann O'Hanlon, a spokeswoman for the agency. "But for now, the Hatch Act says what it says." -- Read the whole story --> Grant to Baldwin DA's Office could put prosecutor at odds with Hatch Act |

October 31, 2011

U.S. Special Counsel wants rewrite of Hatch Act

Politico reports: The head of the federal agency charged with enforcing the Hatch Act argues that the 72-year-old law needs to be overhauled because it is preventing qualified candidates from running for office. ...

“Increasingly, the act is being used as a political weapon to disqualify otherwise well-qualified candidates, even when there is no indication of wrongdoing,” says Lerner, and the alternative - giving up one’s day job to run for office - is not feasible without a personal source of wealth.

Lerner claims that proposed legislation that she has sent Congress to fix the law would cost taxpayers nothing and would allow qualified candidates to run for office. -- Read the whole story --> Special counsel: Rewrite Hatch Act - Tim Mak -

October 15, 2008

House Oversight Committee says Bush White House used government resources to aid election of allies

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform states in a newly issued report: This report examines the operations of the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Bush Administration. It finds that the White House used the political affairs office to orchestrate an aggressive strategy to use taxpayer-funded trips to help elect Republican candidates for public office. From January 1, 2006, until the mid-term elections on November 7, 2006, cabinet secretaries and other senior officials traveled to over 300 events recommended by the political affairs office. All of these events were held with Republican candidates, and in most cases, the travel costs were paid for with federal funds.

President Bush’s first director of the political affairs office was Ken Mehlman. In an interview with the Committee, he stated that “a big part” of his job was to “help elect allies of the President.” He also said it was his view that “one legally could have, in the Office of Political Affairs, focused entirely on simply promoting … the President’s allies.” He told the Committee that he consulted closely about “nearly all aspects of what I was doing” with the Office of White House Counsel under Alberto Gonzales.

The view that White House officials could legally promote the election of Republican congressional candidates led to an extensive effort prior to the 2006 elections. From January 1 to November 7, 2006, Bush Administration officials participated in 326 events with Republican candidates suggested by the political affairs office, more than one per day. Cabinet officials and agency heads personally attended 306 of these events. Of these 326 events, 303 required travel outside of Washington, D.C. Thirty-two officials from 12 cabinet agencies and three independent offices journeyed to 35 states to make appearances with 99 Republicans running for election in 2006. Even offices with statutory provisions prohibiting political activity, like the Office of National Drug Control Policy, were enlisted in the election effort. -- The Activities of the White House Office of Political Affairs

August 17, 2008

Alabama: county commissioner cleared of Hatch Act problems

A Troy Messenger report begins: After months of investigation for an alleged federal election law violation, District 3 Pike County Commissioner Jimmy Barron has been cleared to run for reelection.

"We conclude that you were not covered by the Hatch Act during your 2004 candidacy for County Commissioner, nor are you currently in a Hatch Act covered position," read a letter from Johanna Oliver, an attorney for the Hatch Act Unit of the U.S. Office of Special Council. "Therefore, you are not prohibited from being a candidate in a partisan election."

Barron was first notified he may be in violation of the Hatch Act - an act that prevents certain state and federal employees from holding office - before the party primary elections in May. Friday, he was notified he could still hold office and run for reelection.

Barron works as a traffic signal technician for the Alabama Department of Transportation. -- Barron cleared in Hatch Act probe :: The Troy Messenger

April 4, 2008

Indiana: Terre Haute mayoral election approved even though winning candidate was violating Hatch Act

The Tribune Star reports: The battle for Terre Haute City Hall continues with the latest shots coming from Mayor Duke Bennett’s legal team.

Lawyers for Bennett filed a new appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals this week asking the court to overturn Vigo Circuit Court Judge David Bolk’s Dec. 21 ruling that Bennett was subject to the Hatch Act while he was running for mayor.

Former Mayor Kevin Burke, who lost the Nov. 6 election to Bennett by 110 votes, earlier had appealed another part of Bolk’s ruling. Burke appealed the part that allowed Bennett to take office because he was no longer in violation of the Hatch Act when he took office on Jan. 1. ...

Burke contended that Bennett should not have been eligible to run for mayor because he worked as director of operations at the Hamilton Center, a not-for-profit mental health organization that receives federal funding through its Head Start program. The Hatch Act is a federal law that limits the political activity of employees of some not-for-profits that receive federal money.

In December, Bolk ruled Bennett was indeed subject to the Hatch Act; however, Bolk also ruled that Bennett would no longer be in violation of the Act when he took office as mayor. As a result, Bennett took office as mayor. In his ruling, Bolk also noted other avenues had existed for challenging Bennett’s candidacy before Election Day. -- Bennett’s lawyers file new Hatch ruling appeal

October 25, 2007

Pennsylvania: Democratic candidate raises Hatch Act against 3 Republicans

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: A Delaware County Democratic candidate has asked a federal agency to look into whether three county employees are violating the law because they hold elected office and work for departments that receive federal dollars.

County Council candidate David Landau said the combination of elected office and federal dollars could be a violation of the Hatch Act, a federal law intended to keep politics out of government.

At a news conference yesterday, Landau was careful to qualify his allegation. "There may be Hatch Act violations," he said.

A Republican county official struck back. "I think this is outrageous, trying to bolster his campaign by slamming the employees," said Linda Cartisano, the council's vice president.

The county has determined that the act does not apply to the individuals Landau named, she said. -- Candidate seeks federal probe of 3 Delco workers | Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/25/2007

August 19, 2007

OSC investigating whether Rove's "asset deployment" violated Hatch Act

The Washington Post reports: Thirteen months before President Bush was reelected, chief strategist Karl Rove summoned political appointees from around the government to the Old Executive Office Building. The subject of the Oct. 1, 2003, meeting was "asset deployment," and the message was clear:

The staging of official announcements, high-visibility trips and declarations of federal grants had to be carefully coordinated with the White House political affairs office to ensure the maximum promotion of Bush's reelection agenda and the Republicans in Congress who supported him, according to documents and some of those involved in the effort. ...

Investigators, however, said the scale of Rove's effort is far broader than previously revealed; they say that Rove's team gave more than 100 such briefings during the seven years of the Bush administration. The political sessions touched nearly all of the Cabinet departments and a handful of smaller agencies that often had major roles in providing grants, such as the White House office of drug policy and the State Department's Agency for International Development.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee are investigating whether any of the meetings violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using federal resources for election activities. They also want to know whether any Bush appointees pressured government for favorable actions such as grants to help GOP electoral chances. -- How Rove Directed Federal Assets for GOP Gains -

Hat tip to Talking Points Memo for the link.

July 19, 2007

Kentucky: drug czar may have violated Hatch Act

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports: Last year, during a tight race between first-term Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Fort Mitchell, and former Democratic congressman Ken Lucas, the White House sent the national drug czar, John Walters, to Davis' district.

Congressional investigators are now looking into whether the White House designed such visits to boost the standing of vulnerable candidates in violation of campaign laws.

A "Drug Task Force Event" that Davis hosted Aug. 21 in Ashland was scheduled by Sara Taylor, then the White House director of political affairs. The trip was one of 20 events, paid for with tax dollars, that Taylor plotted in Republican congressional districts around the country for Walters or his deputies. Davis was the only Kentuckian on the list. He went on to defeat Lucas with 52 percent of the vote.

The list of Walters' pre-election events was released along with other documents yesterday by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., whose House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating the possibility that federal agencies were used to help re-elect Republicans and defeat Democrats. -- | 07/18/2007 | Kentucky event part of inquiry

June 25, 2007

Illinois: Feds investigating two Jerseyville aldermen for Hatch Act violations

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports: A spokeswoman for the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service said it has completed investigations of Grafton Alderman Steve Hayes and Jeff Waters of Jerseyville.

Hayes is a letter carrier with the Alton Post Office. Waters is a part-time patrolman in Sandoval who said he has on occasion worked as a contract employee of the Postal Service.

Spokeswoman Agapi Doulaveris said results of the Hayes investigation were forwarded to the Department of Justice's Office of Special Counsel. She said results of the Waters investigation were sent to the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Unit.

Doulaveris said she could not discuss any specifics.

"All we know is that there's some kind of investigation and that it has been sent to the Department of Justice," said Brian Anderson, Hayes' attorney. "The Hatch Act has been mentioned … It appears to be related to the campaign.." -- STLtoday - News - St. Louis City / County

June 12, 2007

Special Counsel asks Bush to displine GSA head for Hatch Act violation

The Washington Post reports: The U.S. special counsel has called on President Bush to discipline General Services Administration chief Lurita Alexis Doan "to the fullest extent" for violating the federal Hatch Act when she allegedly asked political appointees how they could "help our candidates" during a January meeting.

In a June 8 letter to Bush, Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch accused Doan of "engaging in the most pernicious of political activity" during a Jan. 26 lunch briefing involving 36 GSA political appointees and featuring a PowerPoint presentation about the November elections by the White House's deputy director of political affairs.

At the presentation's conclusion, Doan asked what could be done to "help our candidates," according to a special counsel report. Several GSA appointees who watched the presentation told special counsel investigators that some appointees responded with ideas of how the agency could use its facilities to benefit the Republican Party.

Later, after the special counsel's office received a complaint about the episode and began investigating, Doan showed "a proclivity toward misrepresentation and obstructing an official investigation," Bloch told the president in a four-page letter that accompanied an eight-page memo about the case. -- Bush Is Asked to Discipline GSA Chief in Hatch Act Inquiry

May 24, 2007

Goodling Googled to get the goods on job applicants

The New York Times reports: A former top Justice Department aide testified on Wednesday that she had “crossed the line” in considering the political beliefs of applicants for nonpartisan legal jobs and suggested that earlier testimony by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and another top official about the dismissals of federal prosecutors may have been flawed.

Monica M. Goodling, the former Justice official, told a House panel that she regretted favoring applicants with Republican credentials for lower level prosecutor jobs or prestigious postings at Justice headquarters, actions that could violate federal employment laws. ...

Ms. Goodling acknowledged repeatedly that she had improperly sought to gauge the political leanings of applicants when she reviewed résumés for nonpartisan jobs or promotions, including posts as assistant United States attorneys and immigration judges or for temporary assignments at Justice headquarters.

She said she had done Google or Nexis searches on job candidates or searched their names on campaign-finance databases to see if they might have given money to Republican or Democratic candidates. She also pressed applicants’ references, at times, to ferret out the political background of the job candidates they were endorsing.

“There were times I crossed the line probably in my reference calls” by asking political questions, Ms. Goodling told the committee.

Political factors are routinely considered for some jobs at the Justice Department, like United States attorneys or senior posts, like the heads of the litigating divisions.

But civil service rules prohibit such questions when federal agencies are hiring or promoting staff members for career positions. Violations could be unlawful, although probably not a crime, Justice Department officials have said. Two internal investigative units have begun an inquiry into Ms. Goodling’s screening practices. -- Ex-Justice Aide Admits Politics Affected Hiring

May 22, 2007

OSC finds GSA head violated Hatch Act

The Federal Times reports: An Office of Special Counsel report has found that General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal officials from partisan political activity while on the job, sources say.

The report addresses a Jan. 26 lunch meeting at GSA headquarters attended by Doan and about 40 political appointees, some of whom participated by videoconference. During the meeting, Scott Jennings, the White House deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation that included slides listing Democratic and Republican seats the White House viewed as vulnerable in 2008, a map of contested Senate seats and other information on 2008 election strategy.

According to meeting participants, Doan asked after the call how GSA could help “our candidates.”

Doan has until June 1 to respond to the OSC report, which was delivered to her May 18, according to officials. The officials asked to remain anonymous because the report has not been made public.

After Doan responds, the report will be sent to President Bush with recommendations that could include suspension or termination. The president is not required to comply with the suggestions. -- GSA chief violated Hatch Act, OSC report finds

What do you suppose the President will do?

May 15, 2007

Mississippi: Hatch Act affecting 2 candidates for Warren County

The Vicksburg Post reports: Federal law restricting the political activity of federal and some state employees has caused one candidate to quit his job and another to consider it.

“I don't want to do anything wrong. I'll consult with my attorneys again and go from there,” District 4 supervisor candidate Casey Fisher said. ...

For some, like District 2 supervisor candidate James Stirgus Jr., the decision to sever ties to his day job was swift.

“I knew I had to quit because we used federal money,” said Stirgus, who left the Warren Washington Issaquena Sharkey Community Action Agency after qualifying to run for a county board seat. The agency assists low income residents defray energy bills by using federally funded programs.

Stirgus is challenging three-term incumbent supervisor Charles Selmon in the central Vicksburg-based district. -- Hatch Act is forcing candidates to act

April 27, 2007

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I'm not suggesting you do anything with this political knowledge

The New York Times reports: The Bush administration insisted Thursday that a series of meetings between senior White House political aides and officials at government agencies to discuss Congressional elections did not violate a law that prohibits the use of federal departments for political purposes.

White House officials acknowledged that aides to Karl Rove, the president’s chief political adviser, held about 20 briefings in the past two years with officials at 16 departments to discuss Republican political strategies, including which Congressional Democrats were being singled out for defeat and which Republicans were most vulnerable.

Included in the briefings were the Treasury, Labor, Commerce, Interior and Energy Departments.

But administration spokesmen said the discussions did not violate the Hatch Act, the law that makes it illegal for government employees to take action that could influence an election. They said the White House officials did not make any requests for the agencies to take any specific actions but were simply imparting details about political strategy. -- White House Calls Political Briefings Legal

March 31, 2007

Documents relating to the Hatch Act violation at GSA

beSpacific many more documents from the oversight hearings on the GSA Administrator's alleged political meetings on federal property.

March 28, 2007

White House official may have violated Hatch Act

Federal Times reports: Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee want to know whether a presentation given by a White House official to senior General Services Administration employees last January was also given at other agencies.

Democrats released the PowerPoint presentation at a Wednesday hearing called to address allegations of a series of improper actions by GSA Administrator Lurita Doan.

Slides list Democrat “targets” and vulnerable Republicans, along with other Republican electoral information. It was presented by Scott Jennings, White House deputy director for political affairs, at a luncheon teleconference for GSA senior staff and political appointees. Jennings, an aide to Bush administration adviser Karl Rove, also was involved in the firing of Bud Cummins III, one of the eight U.S. attorneys fired last year.

A Jan. 19 e-mail regarding the slideshow, sent from an unofficial e-mail address by Jennings’ assistant to Doan’s, says “Please do not email this out or let people see it. It is a close hold and we’re not supposed to be emailing it around.”

Democrats said the e-mail and the PowerPoint showed a violation of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from partisan political activity while on the job. -- Federal Times

TalkLeft has a link to an excerpt of the C-SPAN coverage of the hearing. Ms. Doan keeps insisting she does not remember ever seeing that Powerpoint slide before.

Update: NPR has the Powerpoint if you would like to read it without the "I honestly don't remember seeing that."

March 12, 2007

GSA chief may face Hatch Act inquiry

The Federal Times reports: A series of charges leveled against the head of the General Services Administration could hinder her ability to lead the agency, procurement industry officials say.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., in a March 6 letter to GSA Administrator Lurita Doan, aired allegations that she illegally pressured staff to help Republican political candidates and intervened on behalf of a contractor in a dispute with the agency.

Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has scheduled a March 20 committee hearing to examine those allegations. ...

But Waxman’s letter raises new issues:
• Citing unidentified sources, the letter says Doan convened a January teleconference of her senior staff and 40 GSA political appointees to encourage the officials to help Republican candidates in the next election through public events such as the opening of new federal buildings. ...

GSA’s inspector general has referred the allegation to the Office of Special Counsel as a potential violation of the Hatch Act, which outlaws partisan campaign activity on federal property, the letter states. -- Federal Times

March 6, 2007

New Jersey: Hatch Act restricts work of Monmouth Co. GOP chairman

The Asbury Park Press reports: New fundraising restrictions on Monmouth County GOP Chairman Adam Puharic have led prominent Republicans to question whether Puharic can continue leading the party. ...

Puharic said his duties as GOP chairman have been altered because of his new job as a federal employee. Puharic began work last week as a public affairs officer at the Newark office of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. His salary is $91,700.

Because of the federal Hatch Act — which spells out permitted and prohibited political activity of executive branch em-ployees of the federal government — Puharic said he is no longer directly participating in fundraising for the party. ...

The new arrangement could be problematic for Puharic, according to Edward Still, an Alabama elections attorney who maintains a Web site and blog called Votelaw.

"This will mean that if he even signs a fundraising letter or puts his name on fundraising material, that can be considered soliciting under the Hatch Act," Still said. "There's going to be a whole range of things he can't do. He's sort of going to become half a chairman." -- APP.COM - GOP split on whether chairman should resign | Asbury Park Press Online

November 2, 2006

Illinois: 2 Democratic candidates quit race because of Hatch Act

The Chicago Tribune reports: Rather than lose their jobs at the Elgin Mental Health Center, two Kane County Board candidates abandoned their Democratic candidacies this week after being warned their status as federal workers bars them from running.

The reluctant withdrawal of Michael Lowery of North Aurora and Willie Clements of Elgin on Tuesday, a week before the Nov. 7 election, will not deter the Kane County Democratic Organization from trying to defeat the Republicans running for the posts, said Chairman Mark Guethle on Wednesday. ...

They were challenging incumbent Republicans for County Board when they were alerted last week by an ethics officer with their longtime employer, the state Department of Human Services, to either quit their partisan campaigns for office or give up their jobs at the Elgin Mental Health Center.

Because the state-run center is partly funded with federal money, Lowery and Clements are precluded from running for partisan office because they technically are federal employees, Guethle said. -- 2 Democrats quit Kane races to keep jobs | Chicago Tribune

October 23, 2006

Utah: Ogden police chief told to quit race for Senate or give up job

The Salt Lake Tribune reports: U.S. government investigators are telling Police Chief Jon Greiner to either quit his job or withdraw from the race for a Utah Senate seat - or risk penalties against him and Ogden city.

Greiner's attorney, Jim Bradshaw, confirmed Friday that the chief received a letter from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on Thursday, advising him that investigators believe his campaign violates the Hatch Act.

For now, Greiner is neither quitting his job nor the race to represent Senate District 18 in Ogden and northern Davis County. He has two weeks to decide whether to challenge the special counsel's letter. The election is Nov. 7 - 2 1/2 weeks from today. ...

The Ogden Police Department is not budgeted to receive federal funds this year, but federal grant money was in the budget for the year that ended July 1, well after the chief began his campaign that unseated incumbent Sen. Dave Thomas in the primary. -- Salt Lake Tribune - Senate District 18: Feds impose dilemma for Ogden cop/candidate

October 19, 2006

Illinois: only candidate for commission seat withdraws because of Hatch Act

WQWQ-TV reports: Voters in Union County, Illinois have one less candidate to vote for. In the March primary, Anna Mayor Steve Hartline secured a spot on the democratic ticket for Union County commissioner. With 61% of the vote, Hartline bumped incumbent Union County commissioner Jack Eddleman out of the running. Now Hartline has withdrawn from the race.

Hartline's withdrawal doesn't just leave voters without a democrat to vote for. Now, there is no county commissioner candidate on the ballot at all. Hartline withdrew from the race Tuesday after he learned that winning may mean breaking the law. ...

Hartline is employed by Choate Mental Health and Development Center in Anna which operates programs supported by federal dollars. ...

Another Union County resident could announce him or herself as a write-in candidate by October 31, and win the seat that way. Otherwise the county board will have to appoint someone to the open commissioner's seat.

The Hatch Act only prevents Hartline from taking part in partisan politics - meaning he cannot run as a democrat or republican for public office. The Hatch Act does not prohibit him from taking part in non-partisan politics as he has in holding seats within Anna's City Government for the past 11 years. Candidates are elected to the offices of mayor, city council and school board without political party affiliation. -- Union County voters have no choice for commissioner

New Jersey: Hatch Act complaint against councilwoman

The Hammonton News reports: A Hatch Act complaint has been filed against longtime Councilwoman Jeanne Sparacino Lewis, The News has learned.

The complaint was filed by resident Richard Jacobus with the Hatch Act Unit of the Office of Special Counsel in Washington, D.C. Receipt of confirmation was received Oct. 5. ...

Sparacino Lewis, who is seeking her sixth term on Town Council, is the director of financial aid at the Richard Stockton College of New Jerseyin Pomona. She has worked there for 35 years.

According to the complaint filed by Jacobus, "Jeanne Sparacino Lewis is a current sitting member of Hammonton Town Council and is currently running for re-election in this year's general election on Nov. 7, 2006. Jeanne Sparacino Lewis also conducted town business while on duty in her office via telephone during the 8/7/06 special meeting of Hammonton Town Council. The minutes of that meeting are attached. I do not believe that the educational exemption applies to her position as this exemption concerns teachers who instruct courses funded by federal grants. Mrs. Lewis is responsible for dispersing federal funds to students." -- Local News - The Hammonton News -

October 13, 2006

Illinois: state house candidate withdraws because of Hatch Act

The Quincy Herald-Whig reports: Kelly Street said he is stunned by a ruling that has forced him to withdraw from the 93rd District race for the Illinois House.

His departure leaves Rep. Jil Tracy, R-Mount Sterling, unopposed in her campaign for the Legislature.

Street, a Democrat from Bluffs, got notice Tuesday afternoon that he might be in violation of the Hatch Act, which prevents some workers receiving federal funds from running for political office.

Street is a stationary engineer at McFarland Mental Health Facility in Springfield, earning about $72,000 a year to do repairs and keep boilers and air handlers operating. The facility receives federal funds that help pay salaries.

On Wednesday Street sought confirmation from a special counsel in charge of Hatch Act compliance in Washington, D.C. Hours later he was told he would either have to quit his state job or withdraw from the campaign for the Illinois General Assembly. -- Quincy Herald Whig

October 9, 2006

Alabama: Hatch Act causes problem for GOP candidate

The Decatur Daily reports: Alabama Democratic leaders may file a complaint with federal authorities to disqualify the Republican nominee for Morgan County probate judge.

Party officials said GOP nominee Greg Cain is violating the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits a government employee whose job is financed with federal funds from running in a partisan election.

Cain is a school resource officer for the Decatur Police Department. ...

Allen Stover, grants administrator for the city of Decatur, said the Police Department receives four federal grants. The COPS grant that funded Cain's position expired two or three months ago; however, the department gets other grants, Stover said. -- Dems may dispute Cain's right to run: Hatch Act could disqualify GOP candidate for probate judge

October 1, 2006

Michigan: county commission candidate withdraws because of Hatch Act

The Daily Telegram reports: A Lenawee County Commission candidate called off her election campaign after learning of a legal conflict with her state government employment. But it is too late to take Allison MacArthur-Ruesink’s name off the ballot in the 9th commission district.

The Adrian Township resident said she was told last week by her supervisor at the Department of Environmental Quality that her position as an environmental quality analyst is funded with federal money, making her ineligible to run for partisan office.

The issue was not raised when she told her supervisor about her political plans before filing as a candidate on May 12. She was told last week that DEQ accounting staff verified she is in a federally funded position and was asked to voluntarily withdraw to avoid any federal sanctions under the Hatch Act. -- Candidate halts election campaign

September 16, 2006

Alabama: 2 Enterprise police officers may have to resign to run for office

The Southeast Sun reports: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel in Washington, D.C, is expected to tell Enterprise Police Department officials this week whether two officers running for public office can keep their jobs.

Capt. Mike Lolley, EPD public affairs officers, said the department requested an opinion from the Office of Special Counsel last week after a Dothan police officer running for Houston County sheriff resigned because of the federal Hatch Act. The act prohibits state and local employees from running for partisan office if they are paid with or have control over any federal funds.

The EPD employs Lance Tindol, the Democratic nominee for Coffee County sheriff, and Corey Mason, who is running as an independent for coroner of the Enterprise division.

Lolley said Tindoll is not a supervisor and his salary is not paid by any federal funds. Mason is a supervisor, but Lolley said he did not know for certain without guidance from the counsel's office if either candidate would be affected by the Hatch Act. -- Southeast Sun: Content

September 7, 2006

Wisconsin: duty still working and running, despite Hatch Act complaint

The Dunn County News reports: On Wednesday afternoon, Deputy Kathy Ertz, 52, announced she was ready to resign, if necessary, to pursue her bid to become Dunn County sheriff.

As of Friday, she was still on the job — and in the race — with incumbent Sheriff Dennis Smith for the Democratic Party nod in the Sept. 12 primary. When she declared her candidacy for the sheriff’s office, Ertz was unaware that she was in possible violation of the Hatch Act which says that state and local government employees cannot run for partisan office if they have received federal money as part of their salary.

A complaint filed by an unknown party alleged that she received $1,100 over the course of two years for her participation in alcohol compliance checks performed in conjunction with Arbor Place, Inc.’s prevention programming staff. Unbeknownst to Ertz until recently, the project n— under which businesses are “tested” by an underage subject (chaperoned by an adult) to make sure bartenders ask for identification before serving alcohol — is funded by a federal grant.

During a press conference Wednesday, Ertz revealed that she was awaiting a response from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to a letter composed by her attorney, Michael Wittenwyler of the Madison firm of LaFollette Godfrey and Kahn. -- The Dunn County Online Community - News

August 24, 2006

Wisconsin: sheriff candidate told to quit running or quit her job over Hatch Act

The Dunn County (Wisconsin) News reports: Kathy Ertz has more questions than answers.

At about noon on Saturday she received a phone call from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) in Washington, D.C., telling her that she is in violation of the Hatch Act.

The OSC gave Ertz two options: quit her job (to remain in the sheriff's race) or quit the race. ...

Ertz said the issue has to do with her work, as assigned, on alcohol compliance checks in conjunction with Arbor Place. She said she was told that the grant dollars for that project were from the state.

“I worked my job duties as assigned by my department,” Ertz said.

She said the OSC looks back two years at an employee’s payment records, which Ertz also did. She says she made about $1,100 by being a part of that program, which amounts to approximately 1/90th of her salary during the past two years. -- The Dunn County Online Community - News

November 1, 2004

Federal employees union complains of partisan remarks in VA workplace briefing

The Washington Post reports:
A former Bush campaign adviser who appeared in an ad by a veterans group criticizing Democrat John F. Kerry made inappropriate partisan remarks to federal employees during a September training session at a Veterans Affairs office, a federal employee union contends.

The American Federation of Government Employees says comments by retired Air Force Col. Ken Cordier during a mandatory training session on prisoner-of-war issues violated the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity in the federal workplace. The union last week asked the Office of Special Counsel to investigate the Sept. 22 incident at the VA regional office in Waco, Tex.

Employees were told that Cordier, a pilot and former POW in North Vietnam, would not raise partisan matters during his talk, Mark D. Roth, the union's general counsel, wrote in a letter Oct. 26 to Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch.

But when Cordier took questions, "his comments included statements about scumbags who threw their medals over the fence, [and] that the Democratic Party was the 'peace' party, as if that were a derogatory title," Roth wrote. -- VA Talk by Kerry Foe Challenged (