Pombo Violates The Hatch Act
The Hatch Act is a law that was originally enacted in 1939 to limit the participation of federal workers in political campaigns. To protect the public, it was decided that the interactions between politicians and government employees being paid with public tax dollars should be subjected to very strict and very specific laws.
In 1993, Congress amended the Hatch Act to make it less restrictive. Still, there are a solid set of rules and regulations that govern political interaction with government employees, especially when they are functioning in their paid positions and in a workplace setting.
Examples of activities prohibited by the preceding restrictions include the following: authorizing the use of a federal building or office as described above for campaign activities, such as town hall meetings, rallies, parades, speeches, fundraisers, press conferences, “photo ops” or meet and greets. […]The National Association of Letter Carriers puts the issue of campaign activities a little more succinctly at their website:
Federal agencies should ensure that candidates who visit their facilities to conduct official business do not engage in any political campaign or election activity during the visit.
Bottom Line: Be off the clock, out of the uniform (and government vehicles), and away from the work place.That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it?
That’s why, when Richard Pombo and his campaign staff paid a visit to the Stockton Post Office yesterday, the postal employees were more than a little chagrined.
Congressman Richard Pombo came to the Stockton Post Office, 4245 West Lane today. He said he was there to thank the employees for their hard work in delivering the political mail and to be ready for more to come. After a couple of speakers, Congressman Pombo went around shaking hands. Some of the employees were upset with the fact he was campaigning on the workroom floor and they were a captive audience.A formal complaint filed on behalf of the Stockton postal employees by Darol Stewart, President of the American Postal Workers Union, Stockton Local 320, made the following statement:
Also some things said by Dan Meyers, Customer Relations Coordinator, were inappropriate and offensive. When he asked an employee what she thought about Congressman Pombo’s appearance, she asked Mr. Meyers if it was proper to allow the Congressman to be in the post office while employees are on the clock. His response to her was, “What are they going to do, slap me on the wrists?” He asked another employee after seeing Congressman Pombo, if she was now going to vote Republican.
I believe this is a violation of the Hatch Act for the Congressman to be allowed on the workroom floor to campaign during business hours. I also believe it is coercion by Mr. Meyers, who is a staunch Republican and Postal Manager, to try to persuade employees to vote in his party, while all involved were in a pay status. These employees were forced to listen to the Congressman. They were then put into the uncomfortable position of shaking the Congressman’s hand while he was allowed to roam the workroom floor.
So this is how Richard Pombo upholds the laws of our country. Last May, in his lone appearance at a public forum with his Republican challengers, Pombo, scrambling to defend himself from charges that he has behaved unethically, stated:
To my family, to my friends and my neighbors, and to my kids, I have never broken any rules in the House of Representatives. I have never broken any laws. All I have done is fight for what is right.Apparently, that’s a lie; he has broken the rules and he has broken the law. But it’s okay. After all, “What are they going to do, slap me on the wrists?”