[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 216 (Thursday, November 7, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 66825-66826]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26741]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 216 / Thursday, November 7, 2013 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 66825]]



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: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: OPM is amending its regulations to grant Federal employees 
residing in the District of Columbia a partial exemption from the 
political activity restrictions, and to add the District of Columbia to 
its regulatory list of designated localities in OPM regulations. This 
regulatory amendment reflects OPM's determination that the District of 
Columbia meets the criteria in the Hatch Act, as amended by the Hatch 
Act Modernization Act of 2012, for a partial exemption to issue.

DATES: This rule is effective December 9, 2013.

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. 7323(a)(2) and 
(3), prohibits Federal employees from becoming candidates for partisan 
political office and from soliciting, accepting, or receiving political 
contributions. However, 5 U.S.C. 7325, as amended, authorizes OPM to 
prescribe regulations permitting employees in certain communities to 
participate in local elections for partisan political office without 
regard to the prohibitions in 5 U.S.C. 7323(a)(2) and (3) only if the 
requirements described in section 7325 are met. The first requirement 
is that: (1) The community must be the District of Columbia; or, (2) 
the community or political subdivision must be located in Maryland or 
Virginia, and in the immediate vicinity of the District of Columbia; 
or, (3) the majority of the community's registered voters must be 
employed by the United States Government. The second requirement is 
that OPM must determine that it is in the domestic interest of the 
employees to permit that political participation because of special or 
unusual circumstances existing in the community or political 
subdivision. Under 5 CFR part 733, the exemption from the prohibitions 
in 5 U.S.C. 7323(a)(2) and (3) is a partial exemption because in 5 CFR 
733.103 through 733.106, OPM has established limitations on political 
participation by most Federal employees residing in these designated 
municipalities and subdivisions.
    On April 5, 2013, OPM issued a proposed rule at 78 FR 20497 to add 
the District of Columbia to the regulatory list of designated 
localities at 5 CFR 733.107(c). In its notice of proposed rulemaking, 
OPM noted that the District of Columbia had fulfilled the statutory 
requirements for a partial exemption to issue and proposed the addition 
of the District of Columbia to the regulatory list of designated 
localities.
    OPM received one comment from a labor organization supporting the 
proposal to include the District of Columbia in the OPM regulatory list 
of designated localities and encouraging OPM adopt the proposed 
amendment as a final rule. The comment noted that a large share of 
District of Columbia residents were Federal employees who otherwise 
would be prohibited from running for major local offices in the 
District of Columbia because these elections are partisan, and from 
partaking in many political activities associated with participation in 
partisan election campaigns. The comment noted that this limited the 
pool of candidates for election to local District offices, and denied 
federally employed District residents the opportunity to participate in 
some of the most vital aspects of self-governance and the democratic 
process. In addition, the comment noted that, because the proposed 
amendment would dramatically broaden the pool of eligible candidates 
for District of Columbia office and offer many District residents the 
opportunity to more fully participate in the local political process, 
local governance, and the civic life of their community, special or 
unusual circumstances indeed existed so that the proposed amendment was 
in the domestic interest of Federal employees residing in the District 
of Columbia. Consequently, comment urged OPM to adopt the regulatory 
proposal as a final rule.
    Therefore, OPM is adding the District of Columbia to its list of 
designated localities at 5 CFR 733.107(c). When this rule becomes 
effective, federally employed residents of the District of Columbia 
will be permitted under 5 CFR 733.103 to participate in the following 
activities: (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 of title 5, however, federally employed 
residents of the District of Columbia 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

[[Page 66826]]

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 and positions listed on the Web site of 
the United States Office of Special Counsel, at http://www.osc.gov/haFederalFurtherRestricted.htm, and at 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.
    The District of Columbia will be listed alphabetically after Crane, 
Indiana, and before Elmer City, Washington, at 5 CFR 733.107(c).

E.O. 12866, Regulatory Review

    This regulation has been reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget in accordance with E.O. 12866.

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 activities (Government employees).

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Elaine Kaplan,
Acting Director.

    Accordingly, the Office of Personnel Management amends 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, 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. 2013-26741 Filed 11-6-13; 8:45 am]
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