OSC Seal

U.S. Office of Special Counsel

1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20036-4505

U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM ON THE HATCH ACT AND POLITICAL ACTIVITY BY FEDERAL EMPLOYEES


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 2/22/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
(202) 653-7984  

    As part of its effort to educate federal employees about their rights and responsibilities under the Hatch Act (the law that governs the political activities of federal civilian and postal service employees), the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has announced that it will be holding a series of seminars around the country. The first two-hour seminar will take place on March 8, 2000 in Washington, D.C., at 10:00 a.m., at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), 1900 E Street, N.W., Room 1462. Elaine Kaplan, Special Counsel for the OSC; Karen Dalheim, senior attorney for the Hatch Act Unit of OSC; Suzanne Seiden, General Counsel for OPM; and Jo-Ann Chabot, an OPM attorney specializing in Hatch Act issues will be panel members. 

    The Office of Special Counsel serves a dual role under the Hatch Act. Its mission includes preventing Hatch Act violations through the use of advisory opinions, and enforcing and prosecuting violations of the Act when they do occur. Each year, the OSC issues approximately two thousand advisory opinions, enabling individuals to determine whether and how they are covered by the Act, and whether their contemplated activities are permitted under the Act. The OSC also enforces compliance with the Act, receiving and investigating complaints alleging Hatch Act violations. Depending upon the severity of the violation, the OSC will either issue a warning letter to the employee or bring a prosecution before the Merit Systems Protection Board. 

    Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan stated, “our education program is a timely one. With the election season upon us, many federal employees may be interested in exercising their rights to be politically involved. There are significant penalties for violating the Hatch Act. It is important for federal employees to understand their rights and obligations under this law. It is also important for agencies to be in a position to provide accurate information to their employees.”

    There is no charge for this seminar. Reservations, however, are necessary and will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations, space permitting, will be accepted through Wednesday, March 1. Reservations can be made via e-mail by contacting Noreen Miner at NMINER@OSC.GOV, with the following information: name, address, phone number, e-mail address, position title, and agency or organization. 

    Federal employees who are interested in learning more about the Hatch Act can also visit OSC’s website at www.osc.gov, and click on Hatch Act to review general information as well as advisory opinions.


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