U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL FILES DISCIPLINARY ACTION PETITION AGAINST SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE
EMPLOYEE, CHARGING HIM WITH THREE HATCH ACT VIOLATIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/10/02
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced that it has filed a petition for disciplinary action against Mr. Alan White, Director of Investigative Operations at the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, in Arlington, Virginia. The petition charges Mr. White with three violations of the Hatch Act: (1) running as a partisan candidate for elective office; (2) knowingly soliciting, accepting and/or receiving political contributions from any person; and (3) knowingly soliciting, accepting and/or receiving volunteer services in a partisan election. The petition was filed with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board) yesterday.
As a Department of Defense employee, Mr. White is a federal employee covered by the Hatch Act. OSC’s petition alleges that Mr. White violated the Act when he ran as a candidate in the Fairfax County School Board race held on February 26, 2002. According to the petition, Mr. White took actions in his race for the school board that resulted in a partisan candidacy, despite the fact that candidates’ names were placed on the ballot without any party designation. OSC alleges that Mr. White’s actions included soliciting the endorsement of the Sully District Republican Committee (SDRC); accepting and advertising this endorsement; and accepting campaign contributions and support from the Fairfax County Republican Committee (FCRC).
OSC’s petition also alleges that Mr. White engaged in political fundraising by requesting donations from his website, authorizing a fundraising letter, and accepting contributions from a variety of groups including the FCRC. The petition alleges that Mr. White attended and spoke at a quarterly FCRC meeting in January 2002, where $1,200 was raised for his campaign when a hat was passed around the room.
According to OSC’s petition, Mr. White also solicited and accepted volunteer services in a partisan campaign. His website invited viewers to volunteer in his campaign and the FCRC website –
www.fairfaxco-gop.org – also had a link that viewers could click on if they wished to volunteer for the campaign.
Finally, OSC’s petition asserts that Mr. White’s violations of the Hatch Act were knowing and willful. The petition reports that Mr. White was advised by DOD on December 18, 2001, that he could run for the school board if he did not: “1. Seek the endorsement of a political party; 2. Advertise any endorsement made by a political party; 3. Hold yourself [sic] out as a candidate of a political party.” It further states that Mr. White was advised by OSC, both verbally and in writing, on February 15, 2002, that his candidacy violated the Hatch Act and that he could cure his violation by resigning from federal employment or by withdrawing from the school board election.
The Hatch Act strictly prohibits most federal employees from running in a partisan political election and from soliciting partisan political contributions from anyone. OSC provides advisory opinions on the Hatch Act and also enforces the provisions of the Act by filing petitions for disciplinary action. Employees who are charged with violations are entitled to a hearing before the MSPB. Under the Act, the presumptive penalty for a violation is removal from federal employment. However, upon the unanimous vote of the three-Member Board, the penalty can be mitigated to a minimum of a 30-day suspension. Employees have the right to appeal the Board’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.