The Hatch Act: Political Activity and the Federal Employee
The Hatch Act
The Hatch Act restricts federal employee participation in certain partisan political activities. The political activity restrictions apply during the entire time of an employee’s federal service. Certain rules prohibit both on-duty and off-duty conduct.
Partisan political activities are those activities directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group. While most Federal employees are permitted to take an active part in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns, the Hatch Act does prohibit certain participation by all Federal employees. Federal employees may not seek public office in partisan elections, use their official title or authority when engaging in political activity, solicit or receive contributions for partisan political candidates or groups, and engage in political activity while on duty.
FDA employees are categorized into “less restricted” and “further restricted” employees.
Further Restricted Employees
Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) officers, Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), and Career Senior Executive Service (SES) employees are subject to further restrictive rules and cannot engage in partisan political activities even during off-duty hours or while away from work. These employees are largely limited to exercising the most basic rights of civic participation, such as voting, making political contributions, and expressing individual opinions.
All other civilian FDA employees are considered “less restricted’ employees.
Office of the General Counsel, Ethics Division developed a Hatch Act Online Training Module on the partisan political activity restrictions applicable to federal employees.
For additional resources, please see: