TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Hatch Act

Hatch Act

Gary Novosielski (
Fri, 10 Jun 2005 01:12:45 GMT wrote:

> Until around 1975 government employees were under many restrictions.
> There was a law, the Hatch Act, that prohibited politicking by
> government employees. That made sense in the idea it was to avoid
> government employees serving as patronage or beholden to elected
> officials for their jobs. Until that time Federal employees had to
> sign off that they weren't Communists. They didn't even want to see
> bumper stickers on cars in employee parking lots. They wanted the
> appearance of strict neutrality.

> The laws today are different.

Not that different.

The Hatch Act, dated and obsolescent though it may be, is alive and
well in 2005. It was tested here in New Jersey only a year or two ago
by a postal employee who attempted to run for Congress as a Green
Party candidate, explicitly to try to test (and if possible overturn)
the Hatch Act. He got enough petition signatures to get on the
ballot, but the government got an injunction against his performing
any campaign activities, and when the case finally got to court
(District Court, or Circuit Court, or whatever; IANAL, obviously) the
judge upheld the Act in spite of all the excellent arguments that
could be made against it.

I think his name actually did appear on the ballot, but having not
been able to run a campaign, he got nowhere near enough votes to make
the election outcome anything but moot.

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