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Special Counsel: Fed Gave Unauthorized Tour to Political Candidate

"The employee unilaterally used her official authority to further a political campaign," Hatch Act complaint says. 

The Office of Special Counsel filed a Hatch Act complaint on Tuesday against a federal employee who gave a political candidate a tour of a federal facility, despite warnings not to. 

“The purpose of the tour, which was not open to the general public, was to provide the candidate with information to be used for the campaign. For example, photographs taken during the tour were posted to the campaign’s social media pages,” said the press release. “OSC deemed the employee’s actions to be a flagrant Hatch Act violation because she knew that her agency had denied the candidate’s tour requests and, just three days before she gave the tour, she received a reminder about how such a tour could violate the Hatch Act.” The Hatch Act limits the political activities of federal employees while on the job. 

Zachary Kurz, OSC communications director, told Government Executive that the office “recurrently receives Hatch Act complaints about federal employees providing candidates for political office special access to federal facilities.” Therefore, the office wanted to make federal employees aware that “granting such special access to advance a partisan political campaign could violate the Hatch Act.”

The Office of Special Counsel filed this complaint with the quasi-judicial Merit Systems Protection Board. The office could not disclose additional information about who the candidate is or what office he or she is running for prior to adjudication.