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The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today announced a settlement agreement reached with a federal employee at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who admitted to violating the Hatch Act's prohibition against political fundraising. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions at any time, even when off duty and away from the federal workplace.
In this case, the FDA employee first contacted OSC to ask about serving in a leadership position within a political party, which was permissible under the Hatch Act. However, the employee then authorized the creation of a social media page featuring his name and image that was used several times to solicit political contributions, including at least one that the employee admitted he posted personally. The employee also co-hosted a fundraiser for a candidate for partisan political office and allowed his name to be used in connection with two other political fundraising events, all in violation of the Hatch Act.
The employee had knowledge of the Hatch Act and admitted that he should have known about the fundraising restrictions when he engaged in the prohibited activity. In a settlement agreement, the employee agreed to a 120-day suspension without pay.