Friday, October 29, 2010

Wayne Township Trustee Candidate Violating The Little Hatch Act?

Marion Co. Democrats charged in a press release yesterday that Wayne Co. GOP Trustee candidate Andy Harris' candidacy violates the Little Hatch Act, which bars certain state and local employees and officials whose candidacies are funded with federal dollars from seeking partisan political office. According to the Indianapolis Times blog, the release reads, in part:

Andy Harris, Ballard's hand-picked chief administrator of Neighborhood Liaisons and outreach, is currently in violation of the federal Hatch Act. Funded in part by federal funds, Harris supervises employees who serve as liaisons between neighborhood residents, elected and appointed officials and various City agencies.

The Hatch Act limits the political activities of local government employees who are principally employed by programs funded in whole or in part by the U.S. or a federal agency. Provisions of the Act prohibit some of the following: a) candidacies for public office in a partisan election; b) using their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination; and c) directly or indirectly coercing contributions from subordinates in support of a political party or candidate. See 5 U.S.C. section 1501(4) and 5 U.S.C. section 1502(a)(1-3).

1. Harris is a declared candidate for Wayne Township Trustee in contravention of the statute.

2. Harris has received and spent campaign contributions to a political candidate committee.
The Democrats' press release doesn't mention a state law that also makes persons who are covered by the Little Hatch Act ineligible to be candidates in Indiana. The problem with the Democrats' complaint is that it is being raised too late to remove him from the ballot, and Harris can simply resign his job belatedly and avoid the hammer provision of the Act. That was the mistake Democrats made in their challenge to the winning Republican mayoral candidate in Terre Haute, Duke Bennett, during the 2007 municipal election. By the time the Democrats' complaint was lodged after the election, Bennett had already resigned his job at a nonproft agency funded, in part, with federal funds that disqualified him from being a candidate. I'm not sure why Democrats waited so long to bring this complaint against Harris.

UPDATE: It looks like a campaign finance report complaint has also been filed against Harris for alleged irregularities in his reporting. You can read the complaint by clicking here. The Indiana Attorney General's office also recently issued an opinion discussing the Little Hatch Act and stating that prosecuting attorneys are not covered it because they are members of the judicial branch.


Unigov said...

I think all school systems get federal money for lunch programs and other things.

Would the Little Hatch Act therefore bar teachers in school systems that receive any federal funding, from running for the General Assembly ?

indy conservative said...


John Layton has been violating the Hatch Act since he threw his hat into the ring for Sheriff. No one cares at all about it.

It is a shame there is no conservative in Marion County with a pair to do anything about it. The Dems are reaching for any straw they can at this point.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Maybe the democrat machine should ask David King Baird where he really lives.
He has NOT lived at the address he uses on his campaign filings for at least 9 years.
I have checked that house many, many times, at all hours of the day and night, and all days of the week.
There is NEVER any sign of life, nor are his Cadillac Escalade or tax-free, take-home, unlimited use, tax-payer provided township fire department vehicle ever parked anywhere close.
So, what's up with that?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Teachers are exempt, unigov.

Tell me why the Republicans didn't file a complaint against Layton, Indy Conservative? They filed one against McAtee in the primary.