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Hatch Act

Hatch Act

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Published by Daniel McGowan

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Published by: Daniel McGowan on Dec 06, 2012
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12/06/2012

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 December 5, 2012Mr. Sean Pope10 Elmore AvenueNorth Providence, RI 02911
VIA E-MAIL: spope13@hotmail.com
 Re: OSC File No. HA-12-4705Dear Mr. Pope:This letter is in response to information you provided to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel(OSC) concerning allegations that Ms. Michelle Bergin violated that Hatch Act. Specifically,you alleged that Ms. Bergin’s candidacy in the 2012 partisan election for the District 16 seat inthe Rhode Island House of Representatives was prohibited by the Hatch Act because she wasconcurrently employed as a staff attorney with the Providence Housing Authority. We reviewedthis matter and have concluded that Ms. Bergin’s candidacy violated the Hatch Act. However, asexplained below, we are closing our file on this matter without further action.Persons covered by the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 1501-1508, are subject to certainprotections and restrictions with respect to their political activity in order to protect the publicworkforce from partisan political influence and ensure the nonpartisan administration of laws.For instance, covered employees are protected from being coerced into political activity.§ 1502(a)(2). On the other hand, the Act prohibits such employees from using their officialauthority or influence to affect the result of an election and from being candidates for publicoffice in partisan elections, i.e., elections in which any candidate is running as a representativeof, for example, the Republican or Democratic Party. § 1502(a)(1), (3).Covered employees are those whose principal position or job is with a state, county, ormunicipal executive agency and whose job duties are “in connection with” programs financed inwhole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or an agency thereof. § 1501(4).Employees are subject to the Act if, as a normal and foreseeable incident of their positions or jobs, they perform duties in connection with federally financed activities. Special Counsel v.Gallagher, 44 M.S.P.R. 57 (1990); In re Hutchins, 2 P.A.R. 160, 164 (Civ. Serv. Comm’n 1944).Although pertinent, coverage is not dependent on the source of an employee’s salary, nor is itdependent upon whether the employee actually administers the funds or has policy duties withrespect to them. Special Counsel v. Williams, 56 M.S.P.R. 277, 283-84 (1993), aff’d, 55 F.3d917 (4th Cir. 1995).After investigating the allegations set forth in your complaint, we have determined that Ms.Bergin’s candidacy in the 2012 election for state representative was in violation of the HatchAct. However, because we had previously advised Ms. Bergin that her candidacy was not
U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL
1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218Washington, D.C. 20036-4505202-254-3600

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