OSC Seal

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


CONTACT: Leslie Williamson, 202-254-3659, lwilliamson@osc.gov

WASHINGTON – Recently two federal employees were ordered removed by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for violating the Hatch Act. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) filed complaints for disciplinary action charging David Briggs and Randell Shafer with violating the Hatch Act by being candidates for public office in partisan elections. OSC also charged Mr. Shafer with soliciting and receiving political contributions in violation of the Hatch Act.

David Briggs, an employee of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), U.S. Department of Labor, was a candidate for Township Supervisor in 2007. Mr. Briggs won the primary election for Township Trustee before he became a federal employee and was a candidate in the general election after he became a federal employee. During Mr. Briggs’ candidacy in the general election, OSC and MSHA advised him that he was covered by the Hatch Act and that his candidacy was in violation of the law. Despite these warnings, Mr. Briggs pursued his candidacy. In finding that Mr. Briggs violated the Hatch Act and should be removed from employment, the MSPB rejected Mr. Briggs’ argument that he was permitted to continue his candidacy once he became a federal employee. The MSPB ruled that the Hatch Act “prohibits an employee from being a candidate for partisan political office at any time while he is covered by the Hatch Act, and not just from becoming one while he is a federal employee.” Thus, Mr. Briggs’ “continued candidacy following his appointment to his MSHA position falls within a category of actions prohibited by the Hatch Act.”

Randell Shafer, a civilian employee of the U.S. Department of the Army, was a candidate for U.S House of Representatives in 2004 and 2006. Mr. Shafer also solicited and received political contributions for his candidacies through mailings and his campaign website. Before and during Mr. Shafer’s candidacies, his employing agency provided employees with information on the restrictions of the Hatch Act. The MSPB found that Mr. Shafer willfully and repeatedly violated the Hatch Act and ordered him removed from his position.

Over the last few years, OSC has seen an increase in the number of fundraising violations involving federal employees. Acting Special Counsel, William E. Reukauf stated, “fundraising is a serious offense and OSC will aggressively pursue such cases.”



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. OSC provides advisory opinions on the Hatch Act, and enforces the provisions of the Act by investigating allegations of violations and filing petitions for disciplinary action. For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.

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