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Explaining the Hatch Act

Explaining the Hatch Act

The legislation, passed in 1939, sets limits on the political activities of federal employees and some other government workers. It aims to prevent partisanship in administering federal programs, to protect those employees from political coercion, and to ensure that their promotions stem from merit, not political favoritism.

It bars federal employees from:

- Engaging in political activity while on duty or in the workplace;

- Participating in such activity in an official capacity;

- Soliciting or receiving political contributions.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel offers related guidance on email and social media at