This video gives an introduction to the Hatch Act, which restricts the political activity of some government employees. The video is from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Hatch Act.


DLA Contact


Do you have questions about the Hatch Act? Do you need to report a Hatch Act violation? Reach out to the DLA General Counsel through Claes.Lewenhaupt@dla.mil.
  

Office of Special Counsel Guidance


The Office of Special Counsel issued updated guidance March 5, 2018, regarding the Hatch Act and President Donald Trump’s status as a candidate in the 2020 Presidential election.

U.S. flag flying over the Capitol

The Hatch Act of 1939 limits certain political activities of federal employees who work in connection with federally funded programs. The law ensures federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, protects federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and ensures federal employees are promoted on merit and not political affiliation.

The Hatch Act protects DLA employees from coercion or other detrimental actions caused by political association, and it’s important to know which rules apply to you. Application of the rules varies depending on an employee’s position or office.
So what do you need to keep in mind?

It’s best to understand the limitations of the law before becoming involved in political activities. The Act applies if you participate in activities that are directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group. Also, the Hatch Act does not, in general, restrict your freedom of speech, but DLA employees interested in politics should take care to balance their interests in commenting upon matters of public concern as a citizen with the interests of the Agency and DoD, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services we performs.

This page is your resource to read more about how the Hatch Act applies to DLA employees, as well as to access more information and resources relating to the Hatch Act.

What is specifically prohibited by the Hatch Act for federal employees anytime?

Employees may not:
  • Use their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election.
  • Solicit, accept or receive a donation or contribution for a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
  • Be candidates for public office in partisan political elections.
What is specifically prohibited by the Hatch Act within the workplace or while on duty (including telework from home)?

Employees may not:
  • Distribute campaign materials or items.
  • Display campaign materials or items.
  • Perform campaign related chores.
  • Wear or display partisan political buttons, T-shirts, signs, or other items.
  • Make political contributions to a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
  • Post a comment to a blog or a social media site that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
  • Use any e-mail account or social media to distribute, send, or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
What is permitted outside the workplace and off duty?

Employees may:
  • Be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections.
  • Register and vote as they choose.
  • Assist in voter registration drives.
  • Contribute money to political campaigns, political parties, or partisan political groups.
  • Attend political fundraising functions.
  • Attend and be active at political rallies and meetings.
  • Join and be an active member of political clubs or parties.
  • Hold office in political clubs or parties.
  • Sign and circulate nominating petitions.
  • Campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, or municipal ordinances.
  • Campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections.
  • Make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections.
  • Distribute campaign literature in partisan elections.
  • Volunteer to work on a partisan political campaign.
  • Express opinions about candidates and issues. If the expression is political activity, however – i.e., activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group – then the expression is not permitted while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle.
On social media, employees may not ever:

  • Like, share, or retweet a post that solicits political contributions, including invitations to fundraising events.
  • Post or tweet a message that solicits political contributions or invites people to a fundraising event.
  • Use an alias on social media to solicit a political contribution for a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group.
  • Use a social media account designated for official purposes to post or share messages directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group.
  • Engage in political activity on a personal social media account if you use such an account for official purposes or post in your official capacity.
  • Send to subordinates, or a subset of friends that includes subordinates, any message that is directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group.
  • Use your official title or position when posting messages directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group.
On social media, employees may not while on duty or at work (including telework from home):

  • Post, like, share, or retweet a message in support of or opposition to a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group.
  • Like, follow, or friend the social media account of a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group.
  • Use an alias on social media to engage in any activity that is directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group.
  • Accept invitations to, or mark yourself as “attending,” a fundraising event on social media.
On social media, employees may, at any time:

  • Include your official title or position and where you work in your social media profile, even if you also include your political affiliation or otherwise use your account to engage in political activity.
  • Continue to follow, be friends with, or like the official social media accounts of government officials after they become candidates for reelection.

Read More About the Hatch Act

Employees required to abide by Hatch Act
All federal employees are prohibited by law from using their positions to advocate for or against any candidate for political office. Graphic by Paul Crank.
Aug. 15, 2018 - With the election season now in full swing, it’s important that DLA employees be aware of rules that apply to them under the provisions of the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 7323, which limits political activities of all federal employees.

2016 Hatch Act Archives

Hatch Act outlines restrictions on political activity by federal employees
Federal employees need to be aware of legal restrictions on their political activity.
Aug. 4, 2016 - With the 2016 election season in full swing, people are getting involved in political activities and supporting their favorite party or candidate. However, federal employees need to be aware of legal restrictions on their political activity set forth in the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act and you: Social media Q&A with DLA OGC
Federal employees must abide by the rules of the Hatch Act in their communications.
Aug. 30, 2016 - The use of social media is an area where it can be easy for a federal employee to violate the rule if not careful. Here an attorney from DLA’s Office of General Counsel answers questions about various uses of new media.

A little less conversation: The Hatch Act and discussions with coworkers
Even in casual workplace conversations, federal employees must abide by the Hatch Act and its restrictions on political expression.
Sept. 23, 2016 - As the presidential and congressional elections approach, federal employees must abide by the restrictions on political activity set forth in the Hatch Act. To that end, DLA’s Office of General Counsel and Office of Public Affairs are offering periodic guidance — answers to common questions that employees may have about what they can and can’t say and do in everyday situations.

You’ve got mail: The Hatch Act and email
Voting is a civic duty. But talking about why you plan to vote the way you do is against the law in the federal workplace.
Oct. 11, 2016 - Most federal employees are aware they shouldn’t be discussing whom they support for political office while at work or on federal property. And recent articles have made clear the rules for social media. But what about email?

If these walls could talk: Political paraphernalia under the Hatch Act
Federal employees should be very cautious about displaying any campaign materials in their work spaces.
Oct. 20, 2016 - Not all communication is electronic. And not all political activity prohibited by the Hatch Act is written or spoken.

DOD Frequently Asked Questions

DoD encourages members of the armed forces to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including voting and encouraging others to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.

A candidate for civil office will not be permitted to engage in campaign or election-related activities (e.g., public assemblies, town hall meetings, speeches, fund-raisers, press conferences, post-election celebrations, and concession addresses) while on a DoD installation, which includes overseas installations and areas under the control of combat or peacekeeping forces of the United States military.

A candidate who holds a civil office may visit a DoD installation or facility for the purpose of conducting official business (e.g., business not related to campaigning) or to access entitlements or benefits the candidate is authorized to use; however, no candidate running for office is permitted access for campaign or election purposes.

According to DoD policy, a political campaign or election begins when a candidate, including an incumbent officeholder, makes a formal announcement to seek political office or when an individual files for candidacy with the Federal Election Commission or equivalent regulatory office. Once initiated, a political campaign or election is not considered to have ended until one week after the conclusion of the relevant election.

DoD has a longstanding policy of encouraging military personnel to carry out the obligations of citizenship, and certain political activities are permitted, such as voting and making a personal monetary donation. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities, and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.

Examples of political activities that are prohibited include campaigning for a candidate, soliciting contributions, marching in a partisan parade and wearing the uniform to a partisan event. For a complete list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces.


Unquestionably, service members can exercise their right to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement. For a list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces

DoD encourages all members of the Armed Forces and federal civilian employees to register and vote. The department actively supports the Federal Voting Assistance Program to ensure its personnel have the resources, time and ability to participate in their civic duty. Additionally, department leaders and military commanders appoint voting assistance officers at every level of command and ensure they are trained and equipped to provide voting assistance.

As of December 31, 2000, if an installation facility is designated as an official polling place by an election official or has been used as a polling place since January 1, 1996, installation commanders will not deny the use of that facility as a polling place for any election. The Secretary of Defense or the secretary of the military department concerned may grant a waiver of the requirement to allow use of the facility if it is determined that security is a concern. All members of the Armed Forces on active duty are instructed to remain clear of all polling places except when voting.


Yes, DoD provides voting assistance via the Federal Voting Assistance Program. FVAP works to ensure service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so, from anywhere in the world, via FVAP.gov. The services also provide voting assistance officers at the unit level to facilitate in-person assistance when required.