SEBELIUS AND THE HATCH ACT

10/22/12
Rep. Walsh: Obama should follow standard procedure, fire Sebelius for violating Hatch Act. The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision is to prohibit employees (civil servants) in the executive branch of the federal government, except the President, Vice-President, and certain designated high-level officials of the executive branch, from engaging in partisan political activity. The act also precluded federal employees from membership in “any political organization which advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government,” a definition designed to apply to fascist and communist organizations. It removed political patronage from government jobs and blocked office holders from using their power for partisan ends. The original Act forbids the intimidation or bribery of voters and restricts political campaign activities by federal employees. The language was crafted so that the Secretary of State is covered by the Act’s restrictions on political activity. It has been interpreted to bar political activity on the part of employees of state agencies administering federal unemployment insurance programs and appointed local law enforcement agency officials with oversight of federal grant funds. The Hatch Act bars state and local government employees from running for public office if any federal funds support the position, even if the position is funded almost entirely with local funds.
“As the president who said he had ‘put in place the toughest ethics laws and toughest transparency rules of any administration in history,’ I would expect nothing less than for the president to quickly dismiss Ms. Sebelius,” Walsh told TheDC. “Her actions were not just a violation of the Hatch Act — they were a violation of the people’s trust who believe that their tax payer dollars are not being spent to help promote party politics.” Office of Special Counsel (OSC) said Wednesday that Sebelius violated the law when she publicly endorsed Obama’s re-election and North Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Walter Dalton’s gubernatorial primary in a multi-way race during a taxpayer-funded public event on Feb. 25, 2012. The standard penalty for violating the Hatch Act is termination.
Any “employee who violates the Hatch Act shall be removed from their position, and funds appropriated for the position from which removed thereafter may not be used to pay the employee or individual.” Federal government employees who are not politically appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate may have their punishment lessened from termination “if the Merit Systems Protection Board finds by unanimous vote that the violation does not warrant removal, a penalty of not less than a 30-day suspension without pay shall be imposed by direction of the board.” Since Sebelius is a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee, she isn’t entitled to such a review. “Thus the point is that by close of business on Sept. 12, 2012, the president has been informed of a Hatch Act violation and yet has decided not to fire Sebelius,” Epstein said. “The president has therefore decided to overlook the improper political activities of his appointees when in their official capacities. He has effectively said it is okay to politicize the executive branch.” “This is exactly why they did the Hatch Act — so you wouldn’t have unions running the government and secretaries weren’t forcing politics on employees,” Huelskamp said in a phone interview. “Here you have the most pro-union administration allowing someone to do exactly that. “It sends a very chilling message: If you’re a federal worker, you’re now also an employee of the campaign, perhaps, rather than just an employee of the federal government.”
It was later discovered that Sebelius also endorsed Obama at the event.
A senior Democratic Party official blamed the whole controversy — which has now blown up into Sebelius having broken a law — on Dalton. According to Funk, a high-ranking Washington-based Democratic Party official accused Dalton of “misleading Sebelius during a backstage meeting by presenting himself as the only Democratic candidate in the race.”
Source—goggle on the hatch act, daily caller, boyle, matt,

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