U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrest foreign nationals during a targeted enforcement operation, Feb. 7, 2017. (Associated Press)
An employee of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agreed to resign this week after admitting she posted more than 100 social media messages during work hours or on agency property in 2016, urging people to vote for Hillary Clinton.
The disclosure came in a news release from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC).
ICE employee resigns with 5-year debarment for flagrant Hatch Act violations while on duty. Federal employees must be mindful of the Hatch Act’s prohibitions, especially given the upcoming midterm elections. https://osc.gov/News/pr-18-43.pdf …
The agreement between the employee and the OSC includes a five-year ban from working in the federal government, the statement said.
The posts were considered a violation of the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits most government employees from engaging in most political activities while on duty, the release said.
The woman continued the behavior despite being approached by ethics watchdogs, the OSC said.
“When a federal employee emphatically and repeatedly engages in political activity while on duty or in the workplace, OSC takes that very seriously,” Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner said. “This employee thumbed her nose at the law and engaged in vocal partisan politics both with her colleagues and on social media.
“This employee thumbed her nose at the law and engaged in vocal partisan politics both with her colleagues and on social media.”
– Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner
“Considering her knowledge of the Hatch Act and continuing disregard for the law, this employee’s resignation and debarment from federal service are proportionate disciplinary actions. This case serves as an important reminder that federal employees must be mindful of the Hatch Act’s prohibitions, especially given the upcoming midterm elections.”
Most federal employees are allowed to engage in political activities during their personal time.