Do's and Don'ts for Non-Career
SES and Schedule C Employees
Restrictions on Political Activity
by Non-Career SES and
Schedule C Employees
General: The 1993 Amendments greatly liberalized what you may do
provided you abide by "time and place" restrictions. These are the rules
that apply to career staff below the SES level. Essentially:
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).
You may not encourage or discourage political activity
by persons doing business with, or regulated by, USDA.
You may not use the authority or influence of your office
to interfere with an election.
You may not engage in political activity while on duty,
in a government office, in a government vehicle, or wearing
a government uniform or insignia. This also means you may
not permit your official title to be used when your political
activity is otherwise permissible.
You may not wear political buttons on duty or display
political materials in your office.
You may not seek the nomination for, or election to, a
partisan political office (there is an exception if running
as an independent in certain specified localities).
If accompanying a PAS in mixed official
and political travel, you may not advance the political
element of the trip, may not participate in any political
events during duty hours (although you may accompany the PAS, but not participate
in the event, if your presence is required in support of
You may not volunteer your time in support of a political
party or candidate through your USDA PAS supervisor - any
such activity must be volunteered directly to the party
or candidate committee.
You may not exceed the contribution limits either in cash
or in kind.
Permissible Political Activity by
Non-Career SES and Schedule
General: On your own time and away from the office, you may engage
in a broad range of political activity except fundraising, running for partisan
office, or politicking persons doing business with, or regulated by, USDA.
You may seek election to a non-partisan office (and run as an independent
for partisan office in certain specified localities - including most of
the DC metro area).
You may serve as an officer in a party or candidate campaign committee
in either a volunteer or on a compensated basis.
You may campaign for or against candidates by preparing and/or delivering
speeches, distributing campaign materials, and organizing and/or attending
You may contribute to campaigns, develop fundraising programs, attend
fundraisers, and even serve as a treasurer for a campaign; however, you
may not allow your name to be included on any solicitation materials or
personally host a fundraiser.
You may engage in partisan voter registration activities and partisan
get out the vote drives (GOTV).
You may sign nominating and ballot access petitions for partisan candidates
and participate in circulating such petitions.
You may serve as a delegate to a local, state or national political party
caucus or convention.
You may serve as poll watcher on behalf of a candidate or political party.
You may display political materials in your yard, on your personal vehicle,
and, when off the clock, on your person.
You may accompany your PAS superior in mixed
official/political travel if your presence is needed in support of official
purposes (i.e., for security, communications
back to the office) and you do not participate in the political events
during your duty hours.