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September 21, 2020

New ABA Legal Fact Check explores how Hatch Act limits political activities of federal employees

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2020 — A new ABA Legal Fact Check released today examines when it is legal for federal employees – including political appointees – to participate in partisan political activities under the federal Hatch Act.

With the Nov. 3 election six weeks away, the arcane 81-year old federal law is receiving considerable attention, particularly in the wake of the late August Republican convention that included a lineup filled with top Cabinet officials and other Trump administration officials with events live and videotaped from the White House. The new fact check explores the history and intricacies of the Hatch Act, which is enforced by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, and how it applies to federal civil service employees and presidential appointees.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. Recent ABA Legal Fact Checks have explored critical legal issues raised by COVID-19, including employer-employee rights; the legality of federal forces sent to cities for security even when not requested; and the legal doctrine of broad immunity from civil lawsuits given to police officers who use deadly or excessive force.

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