Wearing campaign shirts no longer violates Hatch Act, OSC says

Ed Andrieski/AP

Federal employees won’t violate the Hatch Act by wearing clothing or carrying items from presidential campaigns to work, but they still are prohibited by law from donning or displaying paraphernalia that directly support a political party or group, according to an advisory memo from the federal government’s independent investigative body.

Even though a president and vice president are not formally elected until after Electoral College votes are cast and counted in early January, federal employees who wear clothing with campaign materials in the office will not affect the outcome so such actions will no longer be considered “political activity,” the Office of Special Counsel said in its Nov. 7 memo.

“Such items will be prohibited by the act if and when a former presidential candidate, including a president or vice president, again becomes a candidate for election,” the OSC noted.

OSC also warned feds against wearing materials demonstrating support for a political party or group in the workplace. The office cited shirts with campaign slogans such as “Democrats for Obama” and “Republicans for Romney” as examples of prohibited items.

The 1939 Hatch Act restricts federal civil service employees in the executive branch from engaging in certain political activities, and OSC has had oversight of all possible violations. This election cycle had some incidents involving violations of the Hatch Act, including one by the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.