OSC Seal

 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
 Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS, 202-254-3600

      The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) filed two similar complaints for disciplinary action against Kansas City, Mo. based Social Security Administration (SSA) employees for sending politically partisan electronic mail messages while on duty, in violation of the Hatch Act. The OSC filed the separate complaints with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSBP) on January 14, 2005.

      The complaint against Michael Davis alleges that he sent an e-mail message to about 27 of his SSA coworkers while on duty and in his federal office building. The message contained a widely-circulated picture of President George W. Bush in front of an American flag with the statement “I Vote the Bible.” The text of the message contains several statements in support of President Bush, a negative statement about Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry, and a statement urging that the reader to “Pass along the ‘I Vote the Bible’ button.”

      A similar complaint against Leslye Sims, alleges that she sent an e-mail message to 22 people while she was on duty and in her federal office building. The subject of the e-mail was: “Why I am supporting John Kerry for President?” and is presented as a letter that appears to be written by John Eisenhower, son of President Eisenhower. The e-mail contained several reasons why the reader should vote for Presidential candidate, John Kerry, and not support the Republican Party.

      The Hatch Act prohibits federal executive branch employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, in any room or building used for official duties by an individual employed or holding office in the U.S. government, while wearing a uniform or official insignia identifying the office or position of the employee, or using any vehicle owned or leased by the government. Political activity has been defined as activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for a partisan political office or partisan political group.

      The OSC provides advisory opinions on the Hatch Act and also enforces the provisions of the Act by filing petitions for disciplinary action. Employees who are charged with violations are entitled to a hearing before the MSPB. Under the Act, the presumptive penalty for a violation is removal from federal employment. However, upon a unanimous vote of its members, the MSPB can mitigate the penalty to no less than a 30-day suspension without pay. Employees have the right to appeal the MSPB’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.



The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints and abuse of authority. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in Federal employment by protecting Federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.