The Hatch Act restricts a Postal Service employee’s partisan political activity. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent agency responsible for investigating and issuing discipline to employees for Hatch Act violations.
What is partisan political activity? Activity directed towards the success or failure of a partisan political party, candidate, or group.
What is a nonpartisan election? An election in which none of the other candidates are running as representing a political party. In other words, none of the candidates are running as a Democrat, Republican, Green Party, Tea Party, Birthday Party (Kanye West’s political party), etc.
24/7 Prohibited Political Activity (whether on duty or off duty)
A Postal Service employee is prohibited from:
- using his or her postal position to influence or interfere with the results of an election,
- encouraging or discouraging the political participation of entities doing business with the Postal Service,
- hosting a political fundraiser,
- inviting anyone to a political fundraiser,
- soliciting, collecting, or receiving funds for a political fundraiser, or
- running as a candidate in a partisan election.
Time, Place, Manner Prohibition
Employees may not engage in partisan political activity while on duty (includes telework), on postal or Federal government property, wearing a uniform or badge, or in a postal vehicle.
Social Media Considerations
Any partisan political social media communications and postings should be made:
- outside of the workplace,
- while off-duty or on leave, and
- using the employee’s personal account and personal device.
Postal Service employees may not:
- post, like, or tweet partisan political comments or material while on-duty or in the workplace,
- use postal email or an official social media account to make, share, or retweet political messages, campaign materials, #hashtags, slogans or images whether on-duty or off-duty,
- like, retweet, or share political fundraising requests, messages, or invitations at any time whether on-duty or off-duty.
Permissible Political Activities (outside of work)
A Postal Service employee may engage in the following partisan political activities outside of work, off of postal or Federal government property, not in uniform, and not in a postal vehicle:
- volunteer with a partisan candidate’s campaign (subject to the restrictions related to political fundraising),
- register and vote; assist in voter registration drives,
- contribute money to partisan political candidates, parties, or groups,
- attend political fundraising events,
- attend and be active members at political rallies, conventions, or meetings,
- join and actively participate in a partisan political party or club; hold office in a political club,
- sign nominating petitions, or
- run in a nonpartisan election.