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 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.
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.
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.