Q: I’m a federal employee running in a non-partisan local election. I have not sought the endorsement or support of any political party. However, a local political party has endorsed me and put my name on their mailer. None of my campaign materials, online activities, or fundraisers has mentioned this unsolicited endorsement. Is this a violation of the Hatch Act?
A: The Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 7321-7326, prohibits employees of the executive branch of the Federal government from participating in some forms of political activity. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”) is the Federal agency responsible for investigating and administratively prosecuting alleged violations of the Hatch Act. OSC provides guidance regarding both prohibited and permitted political activities on its website: OSC. While it is difficult to say definitively whether you violated the Hatch Act based on the limited information in your email, I note that the Hatch Act permits executive branch employees to be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections and to be active members of political parties. Thus, from what you have described, it does not appear you violated the Hatch Act.
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