Personal Social Media Use and Partisan Political Activity - Office of the Special Counsel

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has issued two documents (hyperlinks below) containing guidance for federal employees on personal social media use and partisan political activity in a clear, easy-to-understand format with real world examples and a new quick reference tool.

The “Hatch Act Guidance on Social Media” includes a number of examples illustrating how personal social media use and the Hatch act intersect.

The “Social Media Quick Guide” is the first of its kind from OSC. This quick reference tool has a checklist for allowed and disallowed social media activity for all federal employees in their personal capacity and those who are further restricted from actively participating in partisan political management or campaigns under the Hatch Act.

In addition to the new materials, OSC’s website has comprehensive information on Hatch Act restrictions. OSC is available to answer questions by phone at (800) 85-HATCH and email at OSC educates the federal workforce about and pursues penalties for violations of the Hatch Act. The federal law, passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal employees. The law’s purposes are to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.

Edward McDonnell
Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official