Sending Office: Honorable Jackie Speier
Cosponsor H.R. 3499, the Presidential Appointee Accountability Act
Kellyanne Conway flagrantly and repeatedly violated the Hatch Act by openly campaigning for Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, for President Trump’s reelection, and against Democrats more than 25 times during official media appearances and on her official
Twitter account. HUD administrator Lynne Patton says about the Hatch Act, “I honestly don’t care anymore.” High-level political appointees are flouting the law with impunity—and the Presidential Appointee Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R. 3499) will rein them
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their official time and resources to engage in partisan political activity. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the independent ethics watchdog charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, is largely powerless
to hold these Administration scofflaws accountable because of a broad exemption for presidential appointees. For most of the federal workforce, OSC can bring charges of Hatch Act violation before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) that can result in
demotion, suspension, or even removal from service. Yet, high-level presidential appointees enjoy immunity from this process. The most OSC can do is send reports describing Hatch Act violations to the President, which the President can just crumple up and
toss away. This has created a two-tiered system in the federal workforce, where presidential appointees can engage in activity that would be grounds for termination for other federal workers.
The Presidential Appointee Accountability Act would empower OSC to hold senior political appointees accountable by:
- Expanding OSC’s authority to pursue accountability for Hatch Act violations against high-level presidential appointees before the MSPB;
- Permitting the MSPB to impose a fine of up to $10,000 per Hatch Act violation for such cases;
- Requiring OSC to provide the President a written complaint outlining any Hatch Act violation(s) by presidential appointees and recommended remedies, up to and including termination, and to make such statement available to the public; and
- Requiring the President to issue a public response within 30 days explaining whether he or she will follow the recommendation, and if not, providing an explanation for decision.
The Hatch Act was enacted in 1939 to prevent federal employees from being coerced into working on political campaigns while on the job, and for decades it has ensured that federal employees use official resources only in service to the American people, not
their boss’s political career or some other campaign interest. Now, high-level executive officials are hijacking their public offices and taxpayer funds for partisan political gain with no consequence. It is time to reassert the rule of law and eliminate the
double standard of Hatch Act enforcement.
If you have questions or would like to cosponsor this legislation, please contact Ryan Galisewski (firstname.lastname@example.org or x5-3531) with Rep. Speier or Holly Idelson (email@example.com
or x5-53441) with Rep. Raskin.
Jackie Speier Jamie Raskin
Member of Congress Member of Congress
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