The Hatch Act

So get this: Senator Carl Atwood Hatch of New Mexico was the proponent behind the Hatch Act of 1939.

Officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, the Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal employees, as well as some state, D.C., and local government employees who work in connection with federally funded programs. ​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.​​​

The Hatch Act is enforced by the Office of Special Counsel. From the OSC’s website and FAQ section: “A partisan political election is one in which any candidate is to be nominated or elected as representing a party any of whose candidates for Presidential elector received votes in the last preceding election at which Presidential electors were selected, but does not include any office or position within a political party or affiliated organization. Examples of political parties that received votes in the last Presidential election are the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green Parties. Thus, a partisan election is one in which any candidate is to be nominated or elected as representing a political party. An election is partisan even if only one candidate represents a political party and the others do not.”

Additionally: “Generally, federal employees may not be candidates in partisan elections, even if they run as political independents. Only those federal employees, including further restricted employees, residing in localities specifically designated by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may run as independents in local elections that are otherwise partisan. OPM’s list of designated localities can be found at 5 C.F.R. § 733.107.​”

Regarding Hatch Act investigations being administrative or criminal in nature: “A Hatch Act investigation is an administrative matter. Hatch Act matters are adjudicated before the Merit Systems Protection Board, which is an administrative agency. However, federal employees also should be aware that certain political activities may also be criminal offenses under title 18 of the U.S. Code. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 210, 211, 594, 595, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606, 607, 610.​​”

Regarding the protection of the complainant in a Hatch Act complaint: “As a general matter, OSC staff may not disclose the name of the person who filed a Hatch Act complaint. OSC’s program files, including Hatch Act complaints, contain personal or sensitive information, which is generally protected from release under the Freedom of Information Act. Release of the names of individuals who have reported suspected Hatch Act violations is generally considered to be an unwarranted invasion of privacy that could interfere with the OSC’s law enforcement efforts by subjecting such individuals, on whom OSC relies to report potential violations, to possible harassment or reprisal for doing so. For more information about this policy please refer to 1/26/2004 Policy Statement on Disclosure of Information from OSC Program Files (OSC49a).​​​​”

Who is covered by the Hatch Act: “The Hatch Act defines employee as ‘any individual, other than the President and the Vice President, employed or holding office in: an Executive agency other than the Government Accountability Office…’ 5 U.S. Code § 7322. […] As such, an employee [is] covered by the Hatch Act and subject to the Act’s restrictions on political activity.​​”

Regarding becoming a federal employee after taking office: “Although the Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from being candidates in partisan elections, it does not prohibit them from holding partisan elective office. Thus, if an individual holds elected office when he becomes employed by the federal government, he may serve out the remainder of his term. Likewise, a federal employee may be appointed to fill a vacancy in a partisan elective office. In both of these situations, however, the federal employee may not seek to retain the position by way of a partisan election.”

Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory. The United States Department of Energy National Laboratories and Technology Centers are a system of facilities and laboratories overseen by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) for the purpose of advancing science and technology to fulfill the DOE mission. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a cabinet-level department of the United States Government concerned with the United States’ policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material.

Do you know which Los Alamos County candidates work for Los Alamos National Lab?

  • David Izraelevitz, Democrat, County Council Candidate
  • James Whitehead, Republican, County Sheriff Candidate
  • John Lawrence Bliss, Republican, County Council Candidate
  • Dawn C. Trujillo Voss, Republican, County Council Candidate
  • Brady William Burke, Republican, County Council Candidate
  • Helen Marie Milenski, Libertarian, County Council Candidate
  • James Nealy Robinson, Democrat, County Council Candidate
  • Randall T. Ryti, Democrat, County Council Candidate

MightyLeaks in no way guarantees the completeness of this list of candidates that are also employees of Los Alamos National Lab. This information was obtained through the Los Alamos National Lab directory and references the Campaign Finance Reporting System of the New Mexico Secretary of State.

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