You Took Our Hatch Act Quiz and Did Pretty Well, But...
That's not good enough to stay out of trouble.
Mixing politics with work can be bad business for anybody, but for federal employees, it can be a career killer. There are strict rules limiting the political activity of government employees. With Election Day quickly approaching, we asked Government Executive readers to assess how well they knew the Hatch Act, which governs such activity, by taking our quiz. The questions cover issues such as allowable social media activity, bumper stickers on personal vehicles and running for public office while employed as a civil servant. Over 1,800 readers took the 10-question quiz and scored, on average, 82 percent.
That would be a decent score in most contexts, but even one Hatch Act violation could potentially get a fed in trouble. That's not likely to be a problem for the 514 people (28 percent) who got a perfect score on our quiz, but they are in the minority. A whopping 72 percent missed questions that could land them in serious trouble.
Of the 10 questions we asked, 97 percent of quiz-takers correctly answered the question: Is it OK to repeat a slogan from a presidential campaign during a conversation with a taxpayer on my agency's customer service phone line? (It is not.) Quiz-takers were weakest on the fifth question, which asked about using a campaign's logo on Facebook. Only 66 percent correctly answered that question.
Nearly one-third (598) of readers who took the quiz came from the national capital region, with respondents coming from Washington (289), Maryland (147) and Virginia (162). Users from the area scored, on average, 82 percent. Click on the map below to see the number of quiz-takers by state (more than three dozen others from the Pacific region, Europe and Puerto Rico took the quiz as well).