Postal Workers Campaign Activity while on Leave under Investigation

PostalReporter.com is posting this non-story to highlight the length right-wing websites will go to attack Postal and Federal Workers

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Media Trackers has learned that an investigation is underway into U.S. Postal Service employees at two central Wisconsin post offices who were given leaves of absence to campaign for Democratic candidates Russ Feingold for Senate and Hillary Clinton for president.

A source has told Media Trackers an employee in the Marshfield Post Office and two in the Wisconsin Rapids office were, with virtually no advance notice, given leaves of absence to campaign for Feingold and Clinton and were compensated for their efforts by the Wisconsin Association of Letter Carriers, the union representing postal workers.

The source tells us that the red flag that was raised by the employee’s absences was the overtime hours accrued by other workers to cover the postal routes. The source says this hit the Wisconsin Rapids Post Office particularly hard because it was already down two employees. The source believes these absences took place for about a five-week period prior to the November 8 elections.  The source tells us that the workers “knocked on doors” for the Feingold and Clinton campaigns, meaning they campaigned door to door for the candidates. It is unknown if this practice occurred at any other post offices in Wisconsin.

According to an email obtained by Media Trackers, the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Special Counsel are investigating the practice and the Postmaster General is cooperating with investigators. Our source tells us that the behavior may violate the Hatch Act, but that is far from clear. The Hatch Act is a federal law that restricts the political activity of federal and Postal Service employees while on duty, on government property, wearing an official uniform, or using a government vehicle. It also prohibits candidates campaigning for election to public office on leased or owned postal property.

The practice in question isn’t covered in the USPS guidance to employees on the Hatch Act. But our source believes that the leave of absence practice is “a way around the law.” And our source said the large amounts of overtime accrued over a five-week period could be seen as benefiting candidates for public office. And based on an email we’ve seen, the practice appears to have raised concerns with Postal Service officials.

In another email we obtained, Scott A. Van Derven, President WI State Association of Letter Carriers refers to United States Postal Service management approving “endorsing candidates” but doesn’t mention door knocking: see full story

Now what is so baffling, this writer quoted the Hatch Act but is using speculation that the Postal Workers committed a violation.

How did this writer know the Postal Workers were given leave “with virtually no advance notice”.. Now THIS is what the OIG should be investigating. Information from Employees leave forms (PS Form 3971) is NOT for the public forum.

What this writer should have done before posting this non-story is check on several things:

What was the overtime rate during the same period last year?

Did the Postal Workers take a leave of absence solely for the purpose of campaigning for candidates or were these postal workers union officials who normally use leave for UNION BUSINESS? When union officials or union members work in  local union offices or on official union business they submit requests for Leave Without Official Pay (LWOP). Normally the request is not denied.

Did this writer check on any other postal worker like in management?

Did the writer check on other federal employees campaigning for candidates in Wisconsin including employees campaigning for GOP candidates?

Now there is a strong possibility that this writer is under the mistaken belief that USPS receives taxpayer money. Otherwise, why is it so important to mention the overtime hours.

Here is a broader explanation of dos and donts of the Hatch Act from the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).

Do’s (while off the clock, out of uniform)

Active letter carriers may—on their own time, away from work, out of uniform and without using a postal vehicle:

  • Be candidates for public office in non-partisan elections (that is, elections in which none of the candidates are to be nominated or elected are representing a political party).
  • Register and vote.
  • Sign and circulate candidate nominating petitions and ballot initiative positions.
  • Assist in voter-registration drives.
  • Speak and write publicly and otherwise express opinions about candidates, ballot measures and issues.
  • Attend political rallies, meetings and other events.
  • Attend fundraisers and contribute money to political organizations and campaigns.
  • Volunteer for political campaigns and encourage others to volunteer.
  • Participate in phone-banking and precinct-walking for candidates and ballot measures.
  • Display bumper stickers, lawn signs and other campaign paraphernalia.
  • Raise money for the Letter Carrier Political Fund from other NALC members. (Note: Letter carriers while detailed to 204b or other higher level assignments should not solicit contributions to the Letter Carrier Political Fund from postal employees who may be viewed as their subordinates.)
  • Volunteer, run for and hold an office in a local or state political party or club.

Don’ts (ever)

Active letter carriers may not—even on their own time, away from work, out of uniform and without using a postal vehicle:

  • Use their official titles or positions when engaging in otherwise permissible activities.
  • Raise money for partisan political groups or campaigns (except for the Letter Carrier Political Fund), including phone-banking, letter-writing, selling tickets, hosting a fundraiser, inviting people to attend a fundraiser, or allowing your name to be used in a fundraising appeal.
  • Otherwise solicit, receive or handle contributions for a partisan political group or campaign.
  • Run for elective office in partisan (party-label) elections (even if you report “No Party Affiliation”).
  • Raise money for the Letter Carrier Political Fund from non-NALC members (except from their immediate family members in the same household).

Voter registration and “get out the vote”

NALC and other unions can conduct voter registration and “get out the vote” (GOTV) efforts asking that members, staff and their families register for a particular political party or vote for particular candidates, and can use general treasury funds for these activities.

Also, a union can distribute to anyone voter information produced by official election administrators—sample ballots, absentee ballot applications and register-by-mail materials.

From USPS :

The Hatch Act — Permitted and Prohibited Activities for Employees
The Hatch Act is a federal law that restricts the political activity of federal and Postal Service employees while on duty, on government property, wearing an official uniform, or using a government vehicle. It also prohibits candidates campaigning for election to public office on leased or owned postal property.

Under the Hatch Act, Postal Service employees may:

  • Be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections.
  • Register and vote as they choose.
  • Assist in voter registration drives.
  • Express opinions about candidates and issues.
  • Contribute money to political organizations.
  • Attend political fundraising functions.
  • Attend and be active at political rallies and meetings.
  • Join and be an active member of a political party or club.
  • Sign nominating petitions.
  • Campaign for or against referendum questions, con­stitutional amendments, and municipal ordinances.
  • Campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections.
  • Make speeches for candidates in partisan elections.
  • Distribute campaign literature in partisan elections.
  • Hold office in political clubs or parties.

Postal Service employees may not:

  • Use official authority or influence to interfere with an election.
  • Solicit, receive, or collect political contributions unless both individuals are members of the same federal labor organization or employee organization, and the one solicited is not a subordinate employee.
  • Knowingly solicit or discourage the political activity of any person who has business before the agency.
  • Engage in political activity while on duty, wearing an official uniform, using a government vehicle, or in any government office.
  • Solicit political contributions from the general public.
  • Solicit or receive political contributions.
  • Be candidates for public office in partisan elections.
  • Wear political buttons on duty.

More information on the Hatch Act can be obtained at www.osc.gov/hatchact.htm.

10 thoughts on “Postal Workers Campaign Activity while on Leave under Investigation

  1. The ELM does not list campaigning or working for a candidate as an acceptable reason for LWOP. In addition, the ELM specifies that the cost to the Postal Service is considered when granting LWOP.

  2. This is hilarious! Lefty Lesbo Louise is still hell bent on spending the next 8 years placing blame and pointing fingers instead of looking at bringing in those that voted for change which was non-existent in the DNC platform! Sure Lefty….everyone is to blame for your loss, everyone except you that is! You lost! Martin Sheen, Bruce Springstein, JLo, Beyonce and the rest of the pitiful, pathetic, politically correct rich elite Hollywood & Broadway crowd can’t help you! So either come up with a bona-fide strategy and candidate or spend the next 8 whining! Or like Michelle Hussein Obama said its the end of the world…there is no hope. Guess she’s moving to Canada?

  3. numnuts keeps bringing up the pre-funding canard. both OPM and former PMG Donahoe and current PMG Brennen said it was ruse. in any case, they never paid it since 2009 anyway and the loss of Billions has nothing to do with it, just corrupt, low IQ, no college education jerks who are trying to be as crooked as the democrats with their pay to play. take away all the dead people, illegal criminal invaders, and jail birds that should not have voted in this election and President Trump wins the popular vote too. Jill Stein’s recounts in 3 States added to Trumps numbers.cry baby libtards! President Trump said he is going to end the “Bonus Scam” at the VA………..I have been calling Rep Peter King’s (R-NY) office and been telling him to make sure that President Trump knows the same con is going on at the corrupt PO………looks like re tood does not know factoid from fiction. I could go on about Demonrat Sen Diane Feinstein and her bagel breath husband Blum selling the PO buildings and making millions by way of demonrat crony capitalism while po workers got screwed, but we all know now that Bathhouse Barry and the DemonKKKats are a Criminal Enterprise……just READ the Wikileaks. Poor Bernie got slammed by crooked hillary……just wasn’t as smart as President Trump! ps The Butcher of Bengazi Killary Clinton was a YES vote on the invasion of Iraq…..factoid numbnuts! WE WON! YOU LOST! Hardy Ha Ha! FDX #1 UPS #2 AMZ #3 USPCircus #0

  4. Dear Mr. Bonus money, the Postal Service “lost money” because Congress and ex President Forrest Gump made a political decision to force the Postal Service to pre fund health care costs. It would only be fair if your employer was forced Pre fund it’s health care 75 years in advance! Chew on that factoid! Good old ex President Forrest Gump, the leader that started a war over the “weapons of mass deception” I hate to say that Clinton received2,864,974 more votes than Donald Bankruptcy! She should be President What a democracy we live under, the person with the most votes has the election stolen from her. And as for the carriers campaigning for Democrats, if they were off the clock, they had every right to do so. That upsets the Brown Shirts!

  5. The employees were working on union time. They are allowed to talk to other union members to educate them on their best interest. They arent allowed to talk to the general public. Hatch act isn’t an issue. This is common practice with all 501 c4’s. Tea Party took advantage of these laws and received tax breaks to educate the public.

    • “They are allowed to talk to other union members to educate them on their best interest” and such a good job they did!

  6. so tell me numbnuts…………..was it right wing websites that caused the PO Mismanagers to lose $5.3 Billion this year and over $105 Billion since 2009? maybe you should direct your stupidity at the garbage that is running this dump into the dirt! and what, no complaints about PFP bonus money by these losers? bonus money for losing $5.3 Billion……only in your little world! Pan American Airlines went bankrupt and out of business when it lost 13 Million in its last year of operation. chew on that factoid!

  7. Trump won! Clinton Cash lost! Get Over it! We all know that CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, etc are in the pockets of the DNC and try to brainwash us with ‘Fake News” the jig is up, its minus 15 degrees out and snowing, there is NO Global Warming kiddies, only a NWO George Soros scam! I do not believe the liberal media!

  8. The reason the OT was mentioned is the Post Office was willing to take a financial loss to grant leave out of the norm in order to support a candidate. The supervisor may have used PO money to violate the hatch act.

    I am a union member and would file with the NLRB if they were using my money to pay for volunteers to elect Democrats. The reporter has an obligation to report the story and appears to have done so.

  9. The Hatch Act itself could probably stand some reviewing. I do not think it’s fair for a Federal employee not to be allowed to run for a party label office, as long as all campaigning is done on personal time, and no political activity is done in pay status. After all, we are American citizens too, and it’s a fair argument that the Hatch Act imposes on postal employees in that regard.
    Some would go so far as to say that the Hatch Act overall goes too far in private activities. I agree using a job title shouldn’t be allowed, but to be on the safe side, I always refrained from political commentary outside the office. I was there to deliver mail, not campaign for myself or any candidate.
    And it was annoying to have to deliver campaign propaganda day after day after day for local heated contests, and I’m sure in the hotly contested battleground states, mine wasn’t, the political mailing was beyond insane. But we delivered all mailings because we were paid to. Just a part of the job. If postal management approved annual leave and learned later the campaigners were doing campaign work on leave time as opposed to LWOP, then they are responsible for approving that request in advance, and the Hatch Act, at least what I’ve just read, doesn’t address campaigning using annual leave or leave without pay. That issue will likely not be settled any time soon.

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