U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
Washington, D.C. 20036-4505
U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT OF HATCH ACT CASE
AGAINST FORMER DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SENIOR EXECUTIVE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 3/25/04
CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced
today that it has settled a complaint for disciplinary action against Andre
Hollis, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics,
Department of Defense. Mr. Hollis resigned his federal employment after OSC
filed a complaint against him with the Merit Systems Protection Board
(Board). As a result of the settlement, OSC moved to dismiss its complaint
against Mr. Hollis. ***
OSC’s complaint alleged that Mr. Hollis violated the
Hatch Act by becoming a candidate for nomination and election to the U.S.
House of Representatives 8th District in Virginia. According to OSC’s
complaint, Mr. Hollis, acting in concert with the Friends of the 8th
Congressional District Committee (Friends of the 8th), sought nomination and
election to the House of Representatives. OSC’s complaint also alleged that
Mr. Hollis knowingly solicited political contributions in support of his
campaign and the Friends of the 8th, a partisan political group. OSC’s
complaint also included a third allegation against Mr. Hollis charging him
with using his official title and position description at the Department of
Defense while engaging in political activity. In calling for Mr. Hollis’
removal from his federal position, OSC charged that, in an interview with
OSC investigators, Mr. Hollis falsely claimed that he had no association
with Friends of the 8th, while his own E-mail messages proved otherwise.
Based upon the settlement agreement, Mr. Hollis
admitted that he engaged in activities from March to October 2003, while
federally employed, which constituted candidacy under the Hatch Act. He also
admitted that on more than one occasion between March and October 2003,
while federally employed, he knowingly solicited political contributions.
Mr. Hollis agreed that his violations of the Hatch Act warranted imposition
of a penalty consistent with 5 U.S.C. § 7326, which includes removal from
federal service. The Department of Defense agreed to permanently place a
copy of this settlement agreement in Mr. Hollis’ Official Personnel File.
Special Counsel, Scott J. Bloch, said, “This office
will prosecute Hatch Act violations in an evenhanded and vigorous fashion.
As we enter the 2004 national election cycle, it is important for federal
employees to be well aware of the prohibitions on partisan candidacy,
coercion of partisan support and political activity while on the job.”
The Hatch Act prohibits most federal employees from
seeking nomination or election to a partisan political office, from
soliciting partisan political contributions, and from using their official
authority while engaging in political activity. 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 a unanimous vote of its members, the MSPB can mitigate the
penalty to no less than a 30-day suspension without pay. Employees have the
right to appeal the MSPB’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals
for the Federal Circuit.
More information about the Hatch Act is available on
OSC’s website at www.osc.gov.