OSC Seal

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

NASA Employee Suspended for Hatch Act Violations
180 days for political e-mailing and blogging on the clock

CONTACT: James Mitchell, 202-254-3607, jmitchell@osc.gov

WASHINGTON, DC – Engaging in political activity while on duty in a federal building has led to suspension for an employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Johnson Space Center in Houston. The employee has been suspended for 180 days without pay for violations of the Hatch Act, which restricts the political activity of federal executive branch employees.

An investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) found that the employee used his NASA e-mail account to send partisan political e-mails, and made numerous partisan political postings to his blog while on duty in his federal workplace. He was also found to have solicited political contributions.

Throughout 2006 and 2007, he sent partisan political e-mails to various individuals. Some messages were for coordination and planning of activities of a local partisan organization, while others were to assist a candidate in her campaign for state representative. During the same time period, he made blog postings promoting campaigns of several candidates, including individuals running for governor and state representative.

OSC’s investigation also revealed that on at least two occasions in 2006, the employee solicited political contributions in violation of the Hatch Act. He posted to a blog an invitation to a fundraising event, soliciting a $20 contribution for a partisan political organization. He also posted a message on another blog, asking for contributions of ten dollars or more to support a candidate running for state representative.

The suspension for 180 days is the result of an informal agreement he entered into with OSC and NASA. The suspension began March 30, 2008.

“There was time when the Hatch Act was about wearing campaign buttons in the office, or engaging in political activity while on duty, wearing an official uniform, or in a government vehicle,” said Special Counsel Scott Bloch. “Today, modern office technology multiplies the opportunities for employees to abuse their positions and, as in this serious case, to be penalized, even removed from their job, with just a few clicks of a mouse.”



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. For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1 (800) 872-9855.

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