[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 162 (Monday, August 22, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 52287-52288]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-21392]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 162 / Monday, August 22, 2011 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 52287]]


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OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR PART 733

RIN 3206-AM44


Political Activity--Federal Employees Residing In Designated 
Localities

AGENCY: Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: OPM proposes to amend its regulations at 5 CFR part 733 by 
granting Federal employees residing in King George County, Virginia, a 
partial exemption from the political activity restrictions specified in 
5 U.S.C. 7323(a)(2) and (3), and adding King George County to its 
regulatory list of designated localities in 5 CFR 733.107(c). The 
proposed amendment reflects OPM's determination that King George County 
meets the criteria in 5 U.S.C. 7325 and 5 CFR 733.107(a) for a partial 
exemption to issue.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before October 21, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to Elaine Kaplan, General Counsel, 
Room 7355, United States Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E Street, 
NW., Washington, DC 20415.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jo-Ann Chabot, Office of the General 
Counsel, United States Office of Personnel Management, (202) 606-1700.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Hatch Act, at 5 U.S.C. 7321-7326, 
governs the political activity of Federal employees, and individuals 
employed with the United States Postal Service and the Government of 
the District of Columbia. Section 7323(a) generally permits Federal 
employees who are not employed in the Federal agencies or positions 
described in section 7323(b), as amended, to take an active part in 
partisan political campaigns. Employees employed in the Federal 
agencies or positions specified in 5 U.S.C. 7323(b), as amended, 
generally may participate in nonpartisan political activities. 
According to 5 U.S.C. 7323(a)(2) and (3), Federal employees may not 
become candidates for partisan political office and may not solicit, 
accept, or receive political contributions. Section 7325, however, 
authorizes OPM to prescribe regulations exempting Federal employees 
from the prohibitions in section 7323(a)(2) and (3) to the extent OPM 
considers it to be in their domestic interest.
    Under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 7325, OPM may issue such regulatory 
exemptions when two conditions exist in the municipality or political 
subdivision. One condition is met if the municipality or political 
subdivision is in Maryland or Virginia and is in the immediate vicinity 
of the District of Columbia, or if the majority of voters in the 
municipality are employed by the Government of the United States. The 
second condition is met if OPM determines that, because of special or 
unusual circumstances, the domestic interest of the employees is served 
by permitting their political participation in accordance with 
regulations prescribed by OPM.
    In regulations at 5 CFR 733.107(c) OPM has designated 
municipalities and political subdivisions where Federal employees may 
participate in local elections. At 5 CFR 733.103-733.106, OPM has 
established limitations on political participation by most Federal 
employees residing in these designated municipalities and subdivisions. 
Under 5 CFR 733.103, most Federal employees who reside in a 
municipality or political subdivision designated by OPM may:
    (1) Run as independent candidates for election to partisan 
political office in elections for local office in the municipality or 
political subdivision;
    (2) Solicit, accept, or receive a political contribution as, or on 
behalf of, an independent candidate for partisan political office in 
elections for local office in the municipality or political 
subdivision;
    (3) Accept or receive a political contribution on behalf of an 
individual who is a candidate for local partisan political office and 
who represents a political party;
    (4) Solicit, accept, or receive uncompensated volunteer services as 
an independent candidate, or on behalf of an independent candidate, for 
local partisan political office, in connection with the local elections 
of the municipality or subdivision; and
    (5) Solicit, accept, or receive uncompensated volunteer services on 
behalf of an individual who is a candidate for local partisan political 
office and who represents a political party.
    Under 5 CFR 733.104, however, these employees may not:
    (1) Run as the representative of a political party for local 
partisan political office;
    (2) Solicit a political contribution on behalf of an individual who 
is a candidate for local partisan political office and who represents a 
political party;
    (3) Knowingly solicit a political contribution from any Federal 
employee, except as permitted under 5 U.S.C. 7323(a)(2)(A)-(C).
    (4) Accept or receive a political contribution from a subordinate;
    (5) Solicit, accept, or receive uncompensated volunteer services 
from a subordinate for any political purpose;
    (6) Participate in political activities:
    [cir] While they are on duty:
    [cir] While they are wearing a uniform, badge, or insignia that 
identifies the employing agency or instrumentality or the position of 
the employee;
    [cir] While they are in any room or building occupied in the 
discharge of official duties by an individual employed or holding 
office in the Government of the United States or any agency or 
instrumentality thereof; or
    [cir] While using a Government-owned or leased vehicle or while 
using a privately owned vehicle in the discharge of official duties.
Moreover, candidacy for, and service in, a partisan political office 
shall not result in neglect of, or interference with, the performance 
of the duties of the employee or create a conflict, or apparent 
conflict, of interest.
    Sections 733.103 and 733.104 of Title 5, Code of Federal 
Regulations, do not apply to individuals, such as career senior 
executives and employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who 
are employed in the agencies or positions listed in 5 CFR 733.105(a). 
These individuals are subject to the more stringent limitations 
described in 5 CFR 733.105 and 733.106.
    Individuals who require advice concerning specific political 
activities, and whether an activity is permitted or prohibited under 5 
CFR 733.103-733.106, should contact the United

[[Page 52288]]

States Office of Special Counsel at (800) 854-2824 or (202) 254-3650. 
Requests for Hatch Act advisory opinions may be made by e-mail to: 
hatchact@osc.gov.
    In response to requests from a Federal employee who resides in King 
George County, Virginia, OPM proposes to designate that county as one 
in which Federal employees may run for local partisan political office, 
subject to the limitations established by OPM, and accept or receive 
political contributions in connection with elections for local public 
office. This proposal reflects OPM's determination that special or 
unusual circumstances exist so that it is in the domestic interest of 
Federal employees residing in King George County to participate in 
these political activities. This determination is based on written 
material provided by the applicant, interviews with the applicant, and 
documentary material obtained through independent research. Principal 
factors leading to OPM's determination are the proximity of King George 
County to the District of Columbia, the rapid growth of the county 
within the past few years, significant public issues associated with 
this growth, and a significant Federal presence within King George 
County.
    A copy of this notice will be published in two local newspapers 
serving King George County.
    If this proposed rule is adopted, OPM will amend 5 CFR 733.107(c) 
by adding King George County to the list of designated Virginia 
municipalities and political subdivisions in which Federal Government 
employees may participate in elections for local partisan political 
office in accordance with the conditions specified in 5 CFR 733.103-
733.106. The addition of King George County will be listed after 
Herndon, Virginia, and before Loudoun County, Virginia.

E.O. 12291, Federal Regulation

    I have determined that this is not a major rule as defined under 
section 1(b) of E.O. 12291, Federal Regulation.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities because the changes 
will affect only employees of the Federal Government.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 733

    Political activity--Federal employees residing in designated 
localities.

    U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
John Berry,
Director.
    Accordingly, the Office of Personnel Management proposes to amend 5 
CFR part 733 as follows:

PART 733--POLITICAL ACTIVITY--FEDERAL EMPLOYEES RESIDING IN 
DESIGNATED LOCALITIES

    1. The authority citation for part 733 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 7325; sec. 308 of Pub. L. 104-93, 109 Stat. 
961, 966 (Jan. 6, 1996).

    2. Section 733.107(c) is amended by adding King George County, 
Virginia, alphabetically to the list of designated Virginia 
municipalities and political subdivisions as set forth below.


Sec.  733.107  Designated localities.

* * * * *
    (c)
     * * *
    In Virginia
     * * *
    King George County
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[FR Doc. 2011-21392 Filed 8-19-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6325-48-P