“‘engaged in systemic violations’ of the Hatch Act”
A new report from the Office of Special Counsel claims employees of the United States Postal Service were allowed to take time off from work to campaign for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats during the 2016 election.
Lisa Rein reports at the Washington Post:
Postal Service broke law in pushing time off for workers to campaign for Clinton, investigation finds
The U.S. Postal Service engaged in widespread violations of federal law by pressuring managers to approve letter carriers’ taking time off last fall to campaign for Hillary Clinton and other union-backed Democrats, investigators said Wednesday.
High-level postal officials had for years granted employees’ requests for unpaid leave, leading last year to an “institutional bias” in favor of Clinton and other Democrats endorsed by the National Association of Letter Carriers, one of the largest postal unions. The Postal Service’s Office of Special Counsel and inspector general found that the agency violated the Hatch Act, which restricts federal employees from working for or against a political candidate or party during election season.
“The culture and practice was, ‘It’s mandatory, it’s the directive’ ” to ensure employees got time off, Adam Miles, acting director of the Office of Special Counsel, told Senate lawmakers at a hearing.
The investigation found that 97 letter carriers took time off, sometimes weeks, to take part in the union’s Labor 2016 program, canvassing, making phone calls and working on other get-out-the-vote efforts to help elect Clinton and other pro-labor candidates. The workers were dispatched to battleground states, including Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio. They were reimbursed for their unpaid leave by the union’s political action committee.
Federal employees, including postal workers, are allowed to use their time off to campaign or donate to political candidates. But by directing that time off be granted even over the objections of local post office managers who said they would be understaffed, the Postal Service showed a workplace bias toward Clinton and other Democrats endorsed by the union, Miles said.
Brooke Singman of FOX News has more on how this came to light:
USPS broke law in allowing workers to boost Clinton campaign, watchdog says
The OSC determined the USPS “engaged in systemic violations” of the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits certain political activities of federal employees. While employees are allowed to do some political work on leave, the report said the Postal Service showed a “bias” favoring the union’s 2016 campaign operation.
The investigation was launched months ago after Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., brought constituent complaints to the OSC in October. The constituent, identified as a USPS employee, was concerned the Postal Service “incurred unnecessary overtime costs” and “improperly coordinated” with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) when it released members for several weeks of “union official” leave without pay to participate in campaign work.
One notable aspect of this is where the campaigning took place. Battleground states:
According to the report, 82 percent of the work took place in 2016 battleground states: Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
This video from FOX News explains the legal aspects of the report:
Some people, including yours truly, are surprised that the Washington Post even reported this story but the guy below won the internet with this comment via Twitchy:
Just one more thing it couldn’t deliver
— Johnny Staccato (@peakeman) July 19, 2017
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