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

OSC Announces Settlement of Hatch Act Complaint

CONTACT: Loren Smith, 202-254-3714, lsmith@osc.gov
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced its favorable settlement of a complaint seeking disciplinary action against a federal employee for violating the Hatch Act. The employee, while on duty, in a federal building and using a government e-mail account, distributed an e-mail containing a political endorsement in favor of a Presidential candidate. The employee sent the e-mail to more than twenty recipients, a group that included other federal employees, professional contacts, and friends. Because the employee showed good faith by acknowledging the Hatch Act violation, agreeing to undertake Hatch Act training, and accepting a written reprimand, though maintaining any violation was unintentional, the OSC is not releasing the employee’s name and has agreed to this confidential settlement.

      Special Counsel Scott Bloch said, “The founders of our country saw the need for free speech, but also the imminent dangers of having a federal government that would be used to create political machines for electioneering. The Hatch Act followed reforms of the government that began over two hundred years ago. It is important for federal employees to realize that sending e-mails on the job that advocate for a candidate for office may subject them to discipline and possibly the loss of their jobs. The Hatch Act forbids political activity in the federal workplace. No political activity means no political activity, even if it is only one time.”


The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency. Among other functions, it investigates and prosecutes complaints alleging violations of the Hatch Act and provides advisory opinions regarding the Act’s requirements. For more information about OSC, please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-1855.

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