2024 is a National Election Year: Time to Bring Out the Hatch Act
- December 4, 2023
Ralph R. Smith, FedSmith
In November 2024, American voters will determine who will serve as president of the United States and elect numerous Members of Congress. We can count on forthcoming allegations of Hatch Act violations and at least some federal employees facing removal or administrative disciplinary action for participating in illegal political activity. That is not a wild conspiracy theory; it happens every four years.
As luck would have it, allegations of Hatch Act violations are already making national news.
Earlier this year, the US Attorney from Massachusetts resigned after the Office of Special Counsel characterized the Hatch Act violations as “one of the most egregious Hatch Act violations that OSC has investigated.” One might assume a US Attorney would be familiar with the Hatch Act but, perhaps, was not concerned about blatantly violating a law. No doubt, political passions can corrupt our political culture and lead to illegal activity.
In another case, the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, failed to comply with the Hatch Act after she was warned against using “MAGA” to describe certain Republicans.
Most federal employees would be well advised to consider their actions on political issues if they want to avoid harming a federal career. It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming “any reasonable person will agree with me on this issue” or “everyone I know has the same views as I do” and then engaging in activity that violates the Hatch Act.