November 9, 2016 – Post-Election Hatch Act Guidance from the Office of Special Counsel

The United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) issued post-election guidance in a memorandum dated November 9, 2016 [sic]. OSC writes:

Candidates in the Presidential Election
Because of the Electoral College system, candidates for President of the United States retain their status as candidates until January 6, 2017. Note 1. See November 7, 2012, https://osc.gov/Resources/Wearing%20or%20Displaying%20Partisan%20Items%20in%20the%20Federal%20Work
place%20After%20Election%20Day%20(Nov.%207%2C%202012).pdf.

However, after Election Day, with rare exception, activities supporting or opposing a Presidential candidate will not affect the result of the election, as only members of the Electoral College are left to cast their votes. Accordingly, after Election Day, activities such as wearing campaign t-shirts or displaying candidate pictures do not constitute political activity, and the Hatch Act does not prohibit a federal employee from engaging in those activities, even while on duty or in the federal workplace.

Political Parties and Partisan Political Groups
Even after Election Day, the Hatch Act prohibits federal employees, while on duty or in the federal workplace, from wearing or displaying items that show support for or opposition to a political party or partisan political group. For example, an employee may not wear or display a political party t-shirt, poster, or similar item in the workplace.

Note 2. Note, however, that if and when a former Presidential candidate again becomes a candidate for partisan political office, the Hatch Act would prohibit federal employees from wearing or displaying these campaign items while on
duty or in the workplace

For more information about the Hatch Act, please visit the U.S. Office of Special
Counsel’s website at https://osc.gov/Pages/HatchAct.aspx.

End of information from memo.

You see the distinction between a past candidate and political parties?

If you have any doubt on this election or any ethics issues, be sure to consult your ethics counselor. You also would want your management chain in the loop and approving.

And you know whom to call, if you get in trouble even after following ethics counselor and management advice, Or, if you have separate work place issues.

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