U.S. Attorneys: Laws, Rules, and Policies Governing Political Activities Page: 3 of 36
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Accountability * Integrity * Reliability
United States General Accounting Office General Government Division
Washington, D.C. 20548
July 24, 2000
The Honorable Charles E. Grassley
Chairman, Subcommittee on Administrative
Oversight and the Courts
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
The Honorable Christopher S. Bond
Chairman, Committee on Small Business
United States Senate
As you requested, this report discusses various laws, rules, and policies
related to the political activities of U.S. Attorneys. For this report, we have
defined political activities as consisting of the following:
* Hatch Act partisan political activities: These activities are directed toward
the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political
office, or partisan political group. Examples of Hatch Act political
activities include campaigning for a candidate and attending a fund-raiser.
* Issue-oriented political activities: These activities involve responding to
congressional, state, or local legislative requests for information,
assistance, or testimony and commenting on matters of congressional,
state, or local legislative responsibility. Examples of issue-oriented
political activities include testifying before a state legislature and making
comments to the public or media regarding a state proposition or
Regarding such activities, this report addresses the following questions:
* What laws and Department of Justice (DOJ) rules and policies govern U.S.
Attorneys' involvement in Hatch Act partisan political activities? What
types of activities are permitted and what types are prohibited? To what
extent have U.S. Attorneys been involved in Hatch Act partisan political
1 In 1939, Congress passed the Hatch Act (P.L. 76-252), which broadly limited many types of partisan
political activities of federal employees. Several decades later, however, the Hatch Act Reform
Amendments of 1993 (P.L 103-94) became effective on February 3, 1994, and permitted most federal
employees to actively participate in partisan political campaigns, with certain restrictions. The Hatch
Act, as amended, is codified at 5 U.S.C. sections 7321-7326.
GAO/GGD-00-171 Political Activities of U.S. Attorneys
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United States. General Accounting Office. U.S. Attorneys: Laws, Rules, and Policies Governing Political Activities, report, July 24, 2000; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293531/m1/3/: accessed November 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.