WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent letters to 18 executive-branch agencies requesting information on how they comply with the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act prohibits using funds from the United States Treasury to pay for costs associated with political activity by executive branch employees.
Key excerpt from the letters:
“The Hatch Act regulations define “political activity” as “an activity directed towards the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.” It is not always clear, however, whether an event is political or official in nature. We are writing to determine how your agency or your office makes decisions about how to structure official trips to comply with the Hatch Act and other applicable laws.”
The Committee requested the following information from each agency:
- How does the agency ensure compliance with the Hatch Act’s restrictions on political travel?
- What is the formula for apportioning costs incurred during travel that has both official and political components?
- How are travel requests handled from other government officials or offices, whether it be the White House, a Member of Congress, or a separate agency, on a procedural basis?
- What political events have Presidentially-appointed Senate confirmed (PAS) officials in the agency traveled to in 2016, to date?
- What political events are PAS officials in the agency scheduled to attend in 2016 and are any of those events expected to have mixed travel?
The letter was sent to the following agencies:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Education
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of the Interior
Department of Justice
Department of Labor
Department of State
Department of Transportation
Department of the Treasury
Department of Veterans Affairs
Environmental Protection Agency
General Services Administration
Small Business Administration