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News > Hatch Act sets political boundaries for military, civilian employees
Hatch Act sets political boundaries for military, civilian employees

Posted 10/25/2010   Updated 10/25/2010 Email story   Print story


by Richard Brock
81st Training Wing Legal Office

10/25/2010 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, MISS. -- With elections just around the corner, it's time to review what federal employees can and
can't do.

These policies are based on the Hatch Act, 5 USC 7321-7325, and the Joint Ethics Regulation 5500.7R, Section 3, paragraph 6-300.

Defense Department civilians may:
-- Be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections.
-- Register and vote as they choose.
--Assist in voter registration drives.
-- Express opinions about candidates and issues.
-- Contribute money to political organizations.
--Attend political fund-raising activities.
-- Attend and be active at political rallies and meetings.
-- Join in and be an active member of a political party or club.
-- Sign nominating petitions.
-- Campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments or municipal ordinances.
-- Campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections.
-- Make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections.
-- Hold office in political clubs or parties.

DOD civilians may not:
-- Use official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the
result of an election.
-- Collect political contributions unless both the collector and the donor are members of the same federal labor organization or employee organization and the donor isn't a subordinate.
-- Knowingly solicit or discourage the political activity of any person who has business with DOD.
--Engage in political activity while on duty, in any federal workplace, while wearing an
official uniform or displaying official insignia identifying the office or position of the DOD
employee, or while using a government owned or leased vehicle.
-- Solicit political contributions from the general public.
-- Be a candidate for public office in partisan elections.
-- Wear political buttons on duty.
-- Contribute to the political campaign of another federal employee who is in the DOD
employee's chain of command, including the political campaign to re-elect the President or Vice President.

Military members on active duty may:
-- Register, vote and express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but
not as a representative of the armed forces.
-- Make monetary contributions to a political party.
--Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings or rallies as a spectator when not in uniform.
-- Display a political sticker on the member's private vehicle.
-- Join a political club and attend its meetings when not in uniform.
-- Serve as an election official, under specified circumstances, while not in uniform.
-- Sign a petition for specific legislative action or a petition to place a candidate's name
on an official election ballot, if it doesn't obligate the member to engage in prohibited partisan political activity, and is done as a private citizen.

Military members on active duty may not:
-- Use one's official authority or influence for interfering with an election, affecting the
course or outcome of an election, soliciting votes for a particular candidate or issue or
requiring or soliciting political contributions from others.
-- Be a candidate for, or hold, civil office except as authorized.
-- Participate in partisan political management, campaigns or conventions.
-- Make campaign contributions to another member of the armed forces or employee of the federal government, such the President, who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
-- Military and civilian employees of the federal government are absolutely prohibited
from using government supplies, equipment, communication systems and facilities in any political activity.

For specific questions or clarification, call the legal office, 376-8601.

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