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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 ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERSí PROGRAM MANAGER


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 6/13/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
(202) 653-7984

    Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced that on June 2nd, it filed a petition for disciplinary action against Mr. Tahir R. Rizvi, Civil Engineer, Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Center, Huntsville, Alabama, for violating the Hatch Act. OSCís petition charged that Mr. Rizvi violated the Hatch Actís prohibition on being a candidate for elective office in a partisan election. (MSPB Docket No. CB-1216-00-0021-T-1)

    Mr. Rizvi, a career employee, was appointed to his position as Program Manager at the Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Center (CEHNC) in March 1990. According to OSCís petition, in June 1998, Mr. Rizvi requested an opinion from the CEHNCís Office of General Counsel as to whether his employment would preclude him from being a candidate for the Madison County, Alabama Democratic Party Executive Committee. At that time, Mr. Craig Schmauder, Counsel, met with Mr. Rizvi and informed him of the restrictions of the Act, including, but not limited to, the prohibition against being a candidate in a partisan election. 

    Nonetheless, according to OSCís petition, on August 17, 1999, Mr. Rizvi filed as a candidate with the Madison County Probate Office, seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the election to the Madison County School Board. On February 14 and March 27, 2000, CEHNC Office of General Counsel disseminated, via electronic mail, specific information regarding the Hatch Act and its prohibitions for federal employees. According to OSCís petition, Mr. Rizvi was in receipt of both of those e-mails.

    Effective March 27, 2000, Mr. Rizvi went on extended leave. Mr. Rizvi left a message on his government telephone indicating that he was on extended leave in order to run for partisan political office. In addition, according to OSCís petition, on or about March 23, 2000, Mr. Rizvi handed out cards to approximately three of his colleagues, indicating that he was a candidate for the Madison County School Board in District Two and provided his web site and e-mail addresses.

    On April 14, 2000, CEHNC Counsel Schmauder sent a letter to Mr. Rizvi informing him that as a federal employee he was prohibited from being a candidate in a partisan election. The letter also stated that the matter had been referred to the Office of Special Counsel for appropriate action.

    The penalty for a proven violation of the Hatch Act is the employeeís removal from employment or, if the Merit Systems Protection Board decides that removal is not warranted, a penalty of not less than a 30-day suspension. In addition, although the law is still unsettled regarding the availability of permanent debarment from federal employment in cases involving violations of the Hatch Act, OSC may pursue such a remedy in appropriate circumstances. 

    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 Actís requirements. 


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