A guide to employee conduct issued by the Office of Special Counsel informs federal workers that they should not engage in Trump ‘resistance’ activities while on the job.
The agency is tasked with enforcing the Hatch Act, which prohibits employees in the federal government from engaging in certain forms of political activity in their role as public servants.
This may be the first time a government entity directly references the ‘resistance,’ acknowledging employees within federal departments should not promote activities that can be seen as either support of, or opposition to, the President.
“We understand that the ‘resistance’ and ‘#resist’ originally gained prominence shortly after President Trump’s election in 2016 and generally related to efforts to oppose administration policies,” the guidelines state. “However, ‘resistance,’ ‘#resist’ and similar terms have become inextricably linked with the electoral success (or failure) of the president.”
“Over the past several months, federal employees have repeatedly asked whether use or display of “#resist” or “the Resistance,” or advocating or opposing impeachment of the president, while on duty or in the workplace, is prohibited political activity for Hatch Act purposes.” pic.twitter.com/BVmm4rir1R
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) November 30, 2018
They specifically reference any efforts to promote or defend impeachment of the President.
“Advocating for a candidate to be impeached, and thus potentially disqualified from holding federal office, is clearly directed at the failure of that candidate’s campaign for federal office,” the guide reads. “Similarly, advocating against a candidate’s impeachment is activity directed at maintaining that candidate’s eligibility for federal office and therefore also considered political activity.”
The department noted that opinions are perfectly acceptable, saying in a follow-up statement that the guide “was not intended to prevent all such discussions of impeachment in the federal workplace.”
The words or actions must entail specific advocacy, not mundane political musings, in order to raise concern.
‘Resistance’ Members Inside the White House
The new guidelines will surely come as a disappointment to the as-yet-unnamed author of an explosive op-ed in the New York Times this past September.
Not to mention the “two officials” inside the Justice Department who supported the op-ed and revealed they believe their job is also to defy the President by “passively resisting” his agenda.
Those particular federal employees claimed “we see ourselves as rebels” by promoting the resistance within the department.
BREAK: Trump’s internal resistance is literally fist-bumping over that NYT op-ed.
Money quote: ‘We see ourselves as rebels.’https://t.co/b0OZZzaSjx
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) September 6, 2018
Obama Officials Weren’t Big on Enforcing Hatch Act Guidelines
Under the Obama Administration, Hatch Act guidelines were rarely brought up and frequently violated.
Obama’s former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was caught soliciting funds for his re-election campaign while on the taxpayer’s dime.
April Sands, a former Federal Election Commission lawyer, was forced to resign due to violations of the Hatch Act after she solicited donations for Obama’s presidential and then-Senator Claire McCaskill’s congressional campaigns.