OSC Seal

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


CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS, 202-254-3607, cdeeds@osc.gov
      The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has filed two complaints for disciplinary action against federal employees for violation of the Hatch Act. The OSC filed the complaints with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSBP) in August 2005.

      One complaint against U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employee Dr. Nayland Collier alleges that as Chairman of the Committee to Re-Elect Lewis C. Hoggard III for Commissioner of Bertie County, North Carolina, he was identified as the sender of a letter that was sent to approximately 144 people seeking political contributions for the candidate, either by attending a reception or sending a check in an enclosed envelope. Dr. Collier was aware of and agreed to the contents of the letter, although the Committee to Re-elect Lewis Hoggard III sent the letter. This was in violation of the Hatch Act prohibition on soliciting, accepting or receiving political contributions in support of Mr. Hoggard’s partisan candidacy. Dr. Collier is employed as a Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer by the Food and Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

      Another complaint alleges that U.S. Department of the Navy civilian employee Rocky Morrill sent an e-mail message while on duty titled, “Halloween party for Tim Holden,” a U.S. Representative seeking reelection to the 17th Congressional district, Pennsylvania, to more than 300 Naval Inventory Control Point employees and other individuals. The message contained an invitation attachment and encouraged people to attend the party and “meet Tim Holden.” This was in violation of the Hatch Act prohibitions against engaging in political activity while on duty and while in any government room or building. Mr. Morrill is a civilian employee with the U.S. Department of the Navy at the Naval Inventory Control Point in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

     Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch said, “We will continue to prosecute this important law when partisanship is injected improperly into the federal workplace.”

     The Hatch Act prohibits federal executive branch employees knowingly soliciting, accepting, or receiving a political contribution from any person, except in limited circumstances. It also prohibits federal executive branch employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, in any room or building occupied in the discharge of 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. 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. For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.