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 SEEKS DISCIPLINARY ACTION IN HATCH ACT CASE AGAINST EPA REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 4/11/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
(202) 653-7984  

    Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) filed a petition for disciplinary action against Mr. William Yellowtail, Regional Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Denver, Colorado, for violating the Hatch Act. OSC’s petition charged that Mr. Yellowtail violated the Hatch Act’s prohibition on knowingly soliciting political contributions.   

    Mr. Yellowtail was originally appointed to his position as the Regional Administrator, EPA, Denver, CO in January 1994. According to OSC’s petition, during his initial employment with EPA, Mr. Yellowtail received general Hatch Act training. In addition, he received an e-mail from EPA Associate General Counsel, Mr. David Schachterle, outlining Hatch Act restrictions, and specifically stating, “the most important restriction, and probably the one most likely to lead to problems, involves fundraising and includes soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions from others . . . .” 

    In March 1996, Mr. Yellowtail resigned from his position with EPA in order to run for the Congressional seat in Montana. According to OSC’s petition, prior to leaving his position, he and members of his staff stated that they took great care to avoid any Hatch Act violations. Following his unsuccessful bid for Congress, Mr. Yellowtail was reappointed to his former position as Regional Administrator in September 1997. 

    OSC’s petition alleges that in February 1998, Mr. Yellowtail met with Joe Lamsom, his former campaign manager; Robert Deschamps, a candidate for the Montana Congressional seat; and Mr. Deschamps’ campaign manager David McAlpin. During that meeting, according to the petition, the participants discussed endorsement of Mr. Deschamps by Mr. Yellowtail and the solicitation of campaign contributions. 

    Shortly after the meeting, an endorsement/fundraising letter was drafted for Mr. Yellowtail’s review and approval that stated, “[I]t is going to take a solid commitment from all of us to put in the hours volunteering, talking to our neighbors and digging in our pockets for campaign contributions.” The letter further stated, “Contributing now to Dusty’s [Deschamps] campaign is absolutely critical,” and “ . . . make a contribution today.” OSC’s petition alleges that Mr. Yellowtail reviewed the draft letter and authorized the Deschamps’ campaign to sign his name to it. Subsequently, the campaign distributed the letter, from Mr. Yellowtail, to numerous potential supporters of Mr. Deschamps.

    The penalty for a proven violation of the Hatch Act is the employee’s removal from employment or, if the MSPB decides that removal is not warranted, a penalty of not less than a 30-day suspension. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency. Among other things, it investigates and prosecutes complaints alleging violations of the Hatch Act, and provides advisory opinions on the Act’s requirements. 


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