Cummings Applauds Senate Passage of Hatch Act Legislation
Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, applauded the Senate’s unanimous approval of S. 2170, the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012. Cummings introduced companion legislation in the House, H.R. 4152, which has bipartisan support. Other House co-sponsors include Reps. Jason Chaffetz, Gerry Connolly, Danny Davis, Michael Fitzpatrick, Stephen Lynch, James Moran, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Laura Richardson.
“This bipartisan legislation makes common-sense updates to the Hatch Act,” said Cummings. “This bill will allow state and local government employees to serve their country and their communities by running for office, and it will allow for greater fairness by providing a range of penalties for Hatch Act violations. I urge the House to act swiftly to send this bill to the President’s desk.”
The Office of Special Counsel endorsed the bill. “Fixing this broken law will cost taxpayers nothing, and will demonstrate respect for the independence of state and local elections,” said Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner.
The Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 would:
- Allow state and local government employees covered by the Hatch Act to run for partisan elective office;
- Provide the Merit Systems Protection Board – the independent federal agency that adjudicates Hatch Act complaints – with flexibility to issue a range of penalties for Hatch Act violations. Currently, employees who violate the Act must be terminated unless the Board unanimously agrees to reduce the penalty; and
- Ensure that employees of the District of Columbia are subject to the same restrictions on political activity that currently apply to employees of all other state and local government agencies.