March 2008: This year being what it is, now is a good time for SEC employees to refresh their understanding of the restrictions on political activities contained in the Hatch Act.
In 1939, the enactment of the Hatch Act was hailed as a critical step toward cleaning up government and ending political patronage. Its goal was to ensure a qualified, stable workforce free from coercion and the constant threat of job loss for no reason. Since that time, the federal workplace has changed a great deal and in 1993, the Hatch Act was reformed to reflect these changes.
Listed below you will find some guidelines for activities allowed and prohibited under the current Hatch Act law for most SEC employees:
- Register and vote as they choose;
- Assist in voter registration drives;
- Express opinions about candidates and issues, privately and publicly;
- Run for election to a non-partisan public office;
- Contribute money to political organizations or attend a political fund raising function;
- Sign petitions, including nominating petitions;
- Wear political badges or buttons (except in government buildings or while on duty);
- Run for office within party organizations and political clubs;
- Attend and be active at political conventions, rallies and meetings;
- Take an active part in political campaigns;
- Solicit contributions from fellow employees to the political action committee of the federal labor organization to which both employees belong provided that the contributor is not a subordinate employee;
- Spouses and other members of an employee’s family may engage in all forms of partisan political activities.
Employees May Not:
- Be candidates for public office in partisan elections;
- Use their official position to influence or coerce colleagues or interfere with elections;
- Wear political buttons or engage in political activity in government buildings or while on duty;
- Collect, solicit, accept, receive, handle, disburse or account for political contributions from the general public;
- Wear a government uniform or government insignia, or use a government vehicle, while engaged in political activities;
- Sell tickets to a political fund raising function to the general public.
Please take care to comply with these rules and avoid problems. Further information about the Hatch Act may be found on NTEU’s website, www.nteu.org.