Office of Ethics
United States Department of Agriculture

Do's and Don'ts for Career SES, ALJs & Board of Contract Appeals Members

Restrictions on Political Activity by Career SES, ALJs & Board of Contract Appeals members

General: Your positions were expressly excluded from the liberalization embodied in Hatch Act Amendments of 1993 — you remain "hatched" and many of the restrictions apply both on and off the job. Specifically:

  1. You may not solicit political contributions from anyone at anytime (there is a narrow exception for soliciting within the membership of a federal employee union for its Political Action Committee).
  2. You may not seek a nomination for, or election to, a partisan political office — however, there is an exception for running for local office in certain specified areas (see permissible activity list on the reverse side)
  3. You may not wear political buttons at work or display political materials in your office — a bumper sticker on your personal vehicle is okay, even if you park in a government lot.
  4. You may not campaign for or against partisan political candidates — which precludes:
    1. making partisan political speeches
    2. distributing campaign materials
    3. organizing or managing political rallies
    4. participating in partisan voter registration drives or partisan get out the vote drives (GOTV)

  5. You may not hold office, either on a voluntary or a compensated basis, in a political party organization, campaign committee, political action committee or political club.
  6. You may not circulate nominating or ballot access petitions

Permissible Political Activity by Career SES, ALJs and & Board of Contract Appeals members

General: Off the job, you may engage in the political process as an individual citizen expressing your personal views and franchise rights:

  1. You may register and vote for whomever you wish.
  2. You may assist in non-partisan voter registration and get out the vote drives (GOTV).
  3. You may express your personal opinions about candidates, parties and issues.
  4. You may be a candidate or actively participate in non-partisan election campaigns (where none of the candidates represent a political party - such as some school board elections)
  5. In certain municipalities (including most of the suburban DC metropolitan area) you may be an independent candidate in partisan local elections.
  6. You may actively participate in campaigns on referendums, initiatives, constitutional amendments and state and municipal bond drives and ordinances.
  7. You may attend political rallies and meetings on your own time.
  8. You may join political party organizations and political clubs as a member, but not as an officer.
  9. You may make contributions to candidates and political parties up to your contribution limit.