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 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
 Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


(202) 254-3600                 

     The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has filed a complaint for disciplinary action against Kelvin J. Robinson, Chief of Staff to District of Columbia (D.C.) Mayor Anthony A. Williams. OSC filed the complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) on July 9, 2004. It charges that, during a campaign rally on August 8, 2002, Mr. Robinson violated the Hatch Act by specifically asking D.C. employees, many of whom were his subordinates, to volunteer to work on the Mayor’s re-election campaign.

     Soliciting uncompensated volunteer services from a subordinate for a political purpose violates two separate provisions of the Hatch Act, the prohibition against use of official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with the result of an election, and the prohibition against soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions. OSC’s complaint incorporates both charges.

     According to the complaint, Mr. Robinson attended two OSC-sponsored training sessions about the Hatch Act in early 2002, and therefore, had knowledge of the Hatch Act’s prohibitions prior to the August 8, 2002, campaign rally. OSC has requested that the MSPB remove Mr. Robinson from his employment with the D.C. government.

     Special Counsel, Scott J. Bloch, said, “This office will prosecute Hatch Act violations in an even handed and vigorous fashion. As we enter the 2004 national election cycle, it is important for all Hatch Act covered employees to be well aware of its provisions, which include prohibitions on partisan candidacy, coercion of partisan support and engaging in political activity while on duty.”

     As a D.C. employee, Mr. Robinson is covered by the Hatch Act, which covers all D.C. employees, except the Mayor, members of the City Council, and the Recorder of Deeds.

     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. However, upon a unanimous vote of its members, the MSPB can mitigate the penalty to not 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.


The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints and abuse of authority. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in Federal employment by protecting Federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.