[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 66 (Friday, April 5, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 20497-20498]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07872]



[[Page 20497]]

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OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Part 733

RIN 3206-AM80


Political Activity--Federal Employees Residing in Designated 
Localities

AGENCY: Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) proposes to amend its 
regulations by granting Federal employees residing in the District of 
Columbia a partial exemption from the political activity restrictions 
and adding the District of Columbia to its regulatory list of 
designated localities. The proposed amendment reflects OPM's 
determination that the District of Columbia meets the criteria for a 
partial exemption to issue.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before June 4, 2013.

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, as well as 
individuals employed with the United States Postal Service. 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, as amended, OPM may issue a 
regulatory exemption to the District of Columbia if OPM determines 
that, because of special or unusual circumstances, it is in the 
domestic interest of the District's federally employed residents to 
permit 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 
an independent candidate in a local election to partisan political 
office; (2) solicit, accept, or receive political contributions as, or 
on behalf of, an independent candidate for partisan political office in 
a local election; (3) accept or receive political contributions 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; 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 political contributions on behalf of individuals 
who are candidates for local partisan political office and who 
represent a political party; (3) knowingly solicit a political 
contribution from any Federal employee, except when permitted; (4) 
accept or receive political contributions from a subordinate; (5) 
solicit, accept, or receive uncompensated volunteer services from a 
subordinate for any political purpose. Employees also may not 
participate in political activities when on duty, or while they are 
wearing items that identify their employing agency or their position. 
They cannot participate in political activities while they are in any 
room or building 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; nor while using a Government-
owned or lease 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 U.S.C. 7323(b) 
and 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 States Office of Special 
Counsel at (800) 854-2824 or (202) 254-3650. Requests for Hatch Act 
advisory opinions may be made by email to: hatchact@osc.gov.
    In response to an application from the Honorable Eleanor Holmes 
Norton, the Delegate from the District of Columbia to the United States 
House of Representatives, OPM proposes to designate the District of 
Columbia as a municipality 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 the District 
of Columbia to participate in these political activities. Principal 
factors leading to OPM's determination are the enactment of the Hatch 
Act Modernization Act of 2012, Public Law 112-230 (December 28, 2012), 
expressly providing for a partial exemption for the District of 
Columbia, as well as the District of Columbia's high concentration of 
federally employed residents, its unique position as the capital of the 
United States, and the partisan nature of its elections for local 
public office.
    If this proposed rule is adopted, OPM will amend 5 CFR 733.107(c) 
by adding the District of Columbia to the list of other designated 
municipalities 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 the 
District of Columbia will be listed after Crane, Indiana, and before 
Elmer City, Washington.

[[Page 20498]]

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

0
1. The authority citation for part 733 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 7325; Pub. L. 112-230 (The Hatch Act 
Modernization Act of 2012), 126 Stat. 1616 (Dec. 28, 2012); sec. 308 
of Pub. L. 104-93, 109 Stat. 961, 966 (Jan. 6, 1996)
0
2. Section 733.107(c) is amended by adding the District of Columbia, 
alphabetically, to the list of other designated municipalities as set 
forth below.


Sec.  733.107  Designated localities.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
Other Municipalities
* * * * *
District of Columbia
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-07872 Filed 4-4-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6325-48-P