U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
 
May 19, 2008
 
In Reply Refer To:
1400-733 (700) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 05/21/2008
Information Bulletin No. 2008-081
 
To:                   All BLM Employees
 
From:               Assistant Director, Human Capital Management
 
Subject:           Political Activities
 
This serves as a reminder to all BLM employees, supervisors, and managers of the restrictions on Federal employees as they relate to political activities (The Hatch Act).
 
Most BLM employees, supervisors, and managers may:
 
  • Be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections;
  • Register and vote as they choose;
  • Assist in voter registration drives;
  • Express opinions about candidates and issues;
  • Contribute money to political organizations;
  • Attend political fundraising functions;
  • Attend and be active at political rallies and meetings;
  • Join and be an active member of a political party or club;
  • Sign nominating petitions;
  • Campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, and municipal ordinances;
  • Campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections;
  • Make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections;
  • Distribute campaign literature in partisan elections; and
  • Hold office in political clubs or parties.
 Most BLM employees, supervisors, and managers may not:
  •  Use official authority or influence to interfere with an election;
  • Solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency;
  • Solicit or receive political contributions;
  • Be candidates for public office in partisan elections;
  • Engage in political activity while on duty, in a government office, wearing an official uniform, or using a government vehicle; and
  • Wear partisan political buttons on duty.
Recently, a number of articles have appeared in newspapers across the country concerning federal employees using government e-mail addresses and computers to send messages of a political nature. The Hatch Act prohibits employees from using government resources (including copiers, fax machines, computers and government-issued e-mail addresses) for partisan political activities. If you receive a political message on your government e-mail address, you should not forward the message on to any individual, including your own private e-mail account.
 
Even blogging from home can cause problems. Presidential campaign websites, for example, encourage supporters to create blogs on the site to advocate the candidate’s positions. They also usually carry a link for campaign donations, and that can cause trouble for a federal employee, even when using a home computer. The Office of Special Council (OSC) may view the donate button as soliciting for political contributions, forbidden by The Hatch Act regulations, and set off an investigation. Caution is advised.
 
Stricter rules apply to Career Senior Executive Service (SES) employees. A summary of these restrictions is included in Attachment 1.
 
Less restrictive rules apply to political appointees. It is suggested that these political employees consult with a representative from the Department of the Interior’s Ethics Office for advice and counsel. A representative from this office may be reached at 202-208-7960.
 
The penalty for violation of these regulations is removal from your federal position. If the Merit Systems Protection Board finds by unanimous vote that the violation does not warrant removal, a penalty of not less than 30 days’ suspension without pay shall be imposed by the Director of the Board.
 
A wealth of additional information on this subject may be found at the OSC website located at: http://www.osc.gov
 
A list of frequently asked questions may be found at:
 
OSC advisories are located at:
 
The political activity regulations in their entirety may be found at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisdx_04/5cfr734_04.html.
 
If you have questions, please contact: Stephanie Langseth, Deputy Ethics Counselor,
on 202-208-4695 or your servicing Assistant Ethics Counselor.
 
 
Signed by:                                                                    Authenticated by:
Janine Velasco                                                              Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                                         Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Human Capital Management
 
 
1 Attachment:
 

 
Last updated: 10-21-2009