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
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.
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
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
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
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.