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

OSC: New Jersey Housing Director
Violated Hatch Act

CONTACT: Loren Smith, 202-254-3714, lsmith@osc.gov

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has filed a complaint for disciplinary action against Mark Holmes, the Executive Director of the East Orange Housing Authority in East Orange, New Jersey.

       OSC’s complaint, filed with the Merit Systems Protection Board, charges Holmes knowingly violated the Hatch Act by being a candidate for public office in a partisan election.

       Holmes is covered by the Hatch Act because he serves as Executive Director of a Housing Authority that gives out federal grant money (roughly $7 million in housing vouchers in 2005 alone). The East Orange Housing Authority receives grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for its overall operating expenses, and it also administers HUD Housing Voucher Assistance Payments.

       OSC alleges that Holmes was a candidate in the November 2005 partisan election for Lawrence Township Council. The agency also alleges that when Holmes was a candidate in that election, he knew about the Hatch Act’s restrictions on political activity.

       The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state, county or municipal executive agencies who have duties in connection with programs financed in whole or part by federal loans or grants. An employee covered by the Act is prohibited from being a candidate for public office in a partisan election. The possible penalty for violating the Act is removal of the employee from his or her position with the state or local agency and debarment from employment with a state or local agency within the same state for the following 18 months.

       Special Counsel Scott Bloch stated, “The Hatch Act’s provisions are quite clear in cases like this. Given the apparently deliberate defiance of the law, our responsibility is plain. If the law was violated, especially when it is a higher level official, I believe it is my duty to take action.”


The U.S. Office of Special Counsel 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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