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Hatch Act
5 U.S.C. § 7321-26

Categories of Employees

Career SES Restrictions 


  1. In addition to the other restrictions, career SES may not —
    • Campaign for or against candidates
    • Make campaign speeches
    • Distribute campaign material
    • Organize or manage rallies or meetings
    • Hold office in partisan political clubs or parties
    • Circulate nominating petitions in partisan elections
    • Take part in conventions or convention committees
    • Register voters on behalf of a party


  2. Penalties

    • OSC prosecutes cases before MSPB
    • Presumptive penalty is removal
    • MSPB may mitigate to suspension (30-day minimum)
    • Employee has burden for mitigation

Presidential appointment, Senate-confirmed
Senate Confirmed Officials

• May engage in political activity while —
• On duty
• In a government room or building
• Wearing a uniform or official insignia
• Using a government vehicle
• If costs associated with political activity are NOT paid for by money derived from the U.S. Treasury
• Campaign must reimburse Government

Everyone else—career and non-career General Schedule, non-career SES

  1. Permissible Activities for most employees
    • Be active at political rallies and meetings
    • Be an active member of a political party or club
    • Sign nominating petitions
    • Campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances
    • Campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections
    • Make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections
    • Distribute campaign literature in partisan elections
    • Hold office in political clubs or parties
    • Attend political fundraising functions
    • 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


  2. Prohibited Activities for most employees

    • 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
    • Using a government vehicle
    • Includes
    • Wearing political buttons on duty
    • Displaying campaign materials
    • Government e-mail