Officials outline political guidelines

Officials outline political guidelines

As the presidential election approaches, defense officials have outlined the 1939 law guiding federal employees involved in political activity.

The Hatch Act, which was updated seven years ago, is essentially a list of “Dos and Don’ts,” restricting the political participation by executive branch employees, including Defense Department civilian employees, District of Columbia employees and certain state and local agency employees.

Active-duty personnel are also subject to provisions stated in the Hatch Act. Examples of prohibitions include soliciting or receiving political contributions and engaging in political activity while on duty, in a government office or while wearing an official uniform.

Are National Guardsmen subject to the Hatch Act? It depends on their status.

Traditional, drilling Guardsmen not employed by the federal government are not subject to the Hatch Act out of uniform. They may participate in political campaigns as long as they do not use their official rank or title, according to Col. Thomas Kirkpatrick, NGAUS Executive Council general counsel.

However, Kirkpatrick cautions that most states have similar laws for their employ ees. Guardsmen who are fulltime state employee should check local laws for any restrictions.

Federal Technicians and members of the Active Guard and Reserve are allowed to contribute money but are not allowed to join in an official capacity, he said.

Those held under Title 10 rules, including National Guard Bureau personnel, are under the Hatch Act.

-Compiled from staff and defense reports

Copyright National Guard Association of the United States Oct 2000

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved