Congressman intimidating a federal employee
Mr Frelinghuysen is considered a powerful member of Congress after becoming chair of the House Appropriations Committee, which determines all federal funding.CRS Report for Congress "Hatch Act" and Other Restrictions in Federal Law on Political Activities of Government Employees October 23, 1998 Jack Maskell Legislative Attorney American Law Division Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress ABSTRACT This report discusses and summarizes the restrictions on permissible political activities by civilian employees in the executive branch of the Federal Government, under the provisions of the law commonly known as the "Hatch Act," as amended and replaced by the "Hatch Act Amendments of 1993," and under other provisions of federal law.
The Hatch Act statute applies only to civilian officers and employees of the executive branch of the Federal Government. 96-184, "Campaign Activities by Congressional Employees." State or local governmental employees whose principal employment "is in connection with an activity which is financed in whole or in part" by federal funds, come within a particular part of the "Hatch Act." Such State and local employees are prohibited from running for office in a partisan election; using their official authority to influence an election; or attempting to coerce a state or local employee to make a political contribution. Some employees of designated agencies and departments are still restricted in participating in even voluntary, off duty political activities. Coverage Under the Hatch Act The provisions of the Hatch Act Amendments of 1993, in a manner similar to the basic provisions of their predecessor statutes, apply generally to all civilian officers and employees in the executive branch of the Federal Government, other than the President and Vice President. § 5372a); and staff of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Activities Restricted by the Hatch Act Use of Official Authority/Coercion A provision of the new Hatch Act, in a fashion similar to the former law, prohibits any officer or employee in the executive branch of the Federal Government from using his or her official position, authority or influence to affect the results of an election. In contrast to the [old] Hatch Act, the Amendments subject these employees to additional prohibitions. An employee's name may not appear on a fundraiser invitation "as a sponsor of the fundraiser," but may appear on an invitation to a political fundraiser "as a guest speaker as long as the reference in no way suggests that the employee solicits or encourages contributions." one's "official title" may not be used "in connection with fundraising activities," but an employee who "is ordinarily addressed using a general term of address, such as `The Honorable,' may use or permit the use of that term of address for such a purpose." Campaign Contributions and Criminal Prohibitions. Employees may solicit from other federal employees who are fellow members of employee associations and organizations, if the solicited employee is not a subordinate of the employee soliciting, and if the solicitation is made for a multicandidate committee. In addition to the Hatch Act limitations on political activities while on duty or in a federal office, and the general appropriations principles discussed, it should be noted that under ethics regulations Government officers and employees in the executive branch may generally not engage in unofficial, non-governmental activity with Government resources, that is, personnel may not use appropriated funds, or use official federal supplies, equipment or official resources, for any activities which are not "official" Government activities authorized by a department or agency. For a theft or conversion under this statute, the improper use of the Government's property must be in such a manner that "serious interference with ownership rights" of the Government would occur. Employees are barred from using their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election; 2. The provisions of the "Hatch Act Amendments of 1993" removed most of the restrictions on voluntary, free-time activities by federal employees in the executive branch of Government for or on behalf of partisan candidates or political parties, while providing more express prohibitions regarding on-the-job politics in federal offices.