Brien Claims Primary Opponent Violated the Hatch Act
According to Ian Donnis (via Twitter UPDATE: Ian has more), Rep. Jon Brien is claiming his primary opponent, “was ineligible due to a Hatch Act violation” because “Stephen Casey works for a fire department that gets federal funding.” Without having heard the specific claims, here is what the Hatch Act says, according to a Federal website:
Hatch Act: Who is Covered?
State and Local Employees
The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state or local executive agencies and who work in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants. Usually, employment with a state or local agency constitutes the principal employment of the employee in question. However, when an employee holds two or more jobs, principal employment is generally deemed to be that job which accounts for the most work time and the most earned income.
The following list offers examples of the types of programs which frequently receive financial assistance from the federal government: public health, public welfare, housing, urban renewal and area redevelopment, employment security, labor and industry training, public works, conservation, agricultural, civil defense, transportation, anti-poverty, and law enforcement programs.
Hatch Act provisions also apply to employees of private, nonprofit organizations that plan, develop and coordinate federal Head Start or Community Service Block Grant programs.
State and local employees subject to the Hatch Act continue to be covered while on annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay, administrative leave or furlough.
State and Local Employees – Prohibited Activities
Covered state and local employees may not:
be candidates for public office in a partisan election;
use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination; or
directly or indirectly coerce, attempt to coerce, command, or advise a state or local officer or employee to pay, lend, or contribute anything of value to a party, committee, organization, agency, or person for political purposes.
State and local employees subject to the Hatch Act should note that an election is partisan if any candidate is to be nominated or elected as representing a political party, for example, the Democratic or Republican Party.
A note of caution – an employee’s conduct is also subject to the laws of the state and the regulations of the employing agency. Prohibitions of the Hatch Act are not affected by state or local laws.
Wikipidia notes that “The Hatch Act bars state and local government employees from running for public office if any federal funds support the position, even if the position is funded almost entirely with local funds.” (source). Seems like this wouldn’t be the first time a local government employee has run for office. Is this just the first time anyone thought to bring up the Hatch Act?