Hatch Act Information

The following is a discussion of restrictions on political activity by federal government employees, and by employees of certain state and local government agencies, under the Hatch Act.
In 1993, Congress passed legislation that significantly amended the Hatch Act as it applies to federal and D.C. employees (5 U.S.C. §§ 7321-7326). Under the amendments most federal and D.C. employees are now permitted to take an active part in political management and political campaigns.  A small group of federal employees are subject to greater restrictions and continue to be prohibited from engaging in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns.
OSC has developed a number of booklets, posters and fact sheets that explain the application of the Hatch Act.  Copies of the booklets and posters can be ordered from the Government Printing Office.
Below is information that may be used to provide or brief employees on the restrictions.  Additional information is provided on the U.S. Office of Special Counsel website.
One-page flyer on the Hatch Act and Federal Employees (pdf file)  appropriate for posting on bulletin boards
Political Activity and the Federal Employee (pdf file) fourteen page booklet of information
Power Point presentation on the Hatch Act


List of Questions & Answers

Most frequently asked questions:

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the agency responsible for enforcing the Hatch Act, recently issued clarifying guidance on popular social media questions.  To ensure that your knowledge is up-to-date, I encourage you to review the frequently asked questions and answers below (prepared by designated ethics officials).

A: YES, provided you are not in the workplace, in a government building or vehicle, using USG equipment (e.g., computers, phones, Internet connectivity) or wearing an official badge or uniform.

A: NO. Simply identifying your political party affiliation on a social media profile, which also contains your official title or position, without more, is not improper. However, including your official title or position in the text of a partisan message would be a Hatch Act violation, as well as a violation of the Standards of Ethical Conduct (misuse of position).