The Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 7321-7326, restricts Federal employee involvement in partisan political activity. Partisan political activity is any activity directed toward the success or failure of a partisan candidate, political party, or partisan political group. Violation of the Hatch Act may result in disciplinary action, to include removal from Federal employment. Employees should consult with the Departmental Ethics Office before engaging in any partisan political activity.
There are three different classes of employees under the Hatch Act:
A Federal employee may NOT use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to:
Regardless of being off duty, a Federal employee may NEVER solicit, accept, or receive partisan political contributions.
A Federal employee may NOT engage in partisan political activity while:
Examples of prohibited activity include:
*This prohibition does not apply to PAS officials. However, a PAS official may not conduct any of these activities while acting in an official capacity. For example, a PAS official may not wear a political button or display a screen saver, poster, or candidate photograph in his or her office while actually performing the duties of his or her office. PAS officials should contact the Departmental Ethics Office before engaging in any partisan political activity.
Use of Privately Owned Vehicles
You may display a partisan political bumper sticker on your privately owned vehicle and park it in a Federal parking lot. Up to two partisan political bumper stickers (for example, one for candidate A in a Presidential race and one for candidate B in a congressional race) would not violate the Hatch Act. Employees must be cautioned, though, against displaying other partisan political materials, or even bumper stickers, in such a way that makes the vehicle appear to be a campaign mobile. If you use your private vehicle for official purposes, you must cover the bumper sticker(s) while the vehicle is being used for official duties.
Candidacy for Public Office
The Hatch Act and other Government policies may restrict an employee's ability to run for public office. If you are considering running for local public office, contact the Departmental Ethics Office and your Bureau Ethics Office for guidance.
(See the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) website for additional information and guidance.)