The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) violated federal law during the 2016 election season by permitting its unionized employees to engage in political activity on behalf of pro-union candidates, including Hillary Clinton.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) revealed Wednesday in a report to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee the USPS pointedly flouted the Hatch Act of 1939
A sweeping law, the Hatch Act prohibits most employees in the executive branch from participating in some forms of political activity.
According to its findings, the USPS allowed its employees unpaid “union official” leave to join the political campaigning organized by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) union. Employees granted the leave enlisted with “Labor 2016,” a group devoted to electing Hillary Clinton and Democrats to office.
“Specifically, USPS’s practice of facilitating carrier releases for the union’s political activity resulted in an institutional bias in favor of [National Association of Letter Carriers] endorsed political candidates, which the Hatch Act prohibits,” read the conclusions of the report.
The OSC also revealed an astounding 82 percent of the political campaigning occurred in key battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Nevada. The Postal Service’s inspector general’s office was reported to have found 97 employees who used unpaid leave time to assist in the election of pro-NALC political candidates.
Included in the political activity: Door-to-door canvassing, working in phone banks, and a host of “get-out-the-vote” activities. The NALC’s political arm reimbursed USPS volunteers for the lost wages.
“In many localities, the Postal Service is a citizen’s primary point of contact with the federal government, reinforcing the need for strict adherence to the letter and spirit of the Hatch Act,” OSC acting director Adam Miles told the Senate committee.
Despite the violations, the OSC stated in the report no disciplinary action will be taken.
[Washington Examiner] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy The Tennessee Star]