The Hatch Act of 1939 is a piece of United States federal legislation which prohibits federal employees, employees of the District of Columbia and certain employees of state and local governments from engaging in partisan political activity. The Act was named after Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico who protested the political involvement of federal employees in primaries and general elections and sponsored the bill that became the Hatch Act. In 1993, the Act was substantially amended. The 1993 amendments, 5 U.S.C.S. §§ 7321-7326, clarified the rights of federal employees to a great extent. The Act bars only the misuse of official authority or influence, and misuse of work place and official duties. The Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993 permit most federal employees to take an active part in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns. While federal employees are still prohibited from seeking public office in partisan elections, most employees are free to work, while off duty, on the partisan campaigns of the candidates of their choice. However, a small group of federal employees are subject to greater restrictions and continue to be prohibited from engaging in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns. The Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C.S. §§ 7321-7326, forbids employees of the United States and its agencies, generally, from politicizing the work place. It assures that federal employees are appointed and promoted according to merit, and that they serve the public equally, regardless of political affiliation.
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