December 24, 2010

Political activities by State officers and employees
NYS Ethics Commission

Periodically the New York State Ethics Commission reminds State workers of the State’s policy regarding political activities. Typically the Commission notes that:

1. State personnel may only engage in campaign activities on their own time;

2. State resources, including telephones, office supplies, photocopying and FAX machines and secretarial support may not be used for campaign purposes.

3. State personnel may not use their official position to solicit funds or coerce or influence co-workers for political purposes.

4. Campaign materials may not indicate or imply any State support or opposition to the candidate except that a candidate may refer to his or her State position in a campaign biography.

Section 107 of the Civil Service Law sets out a number of prohibitions against certain political activities by employees of the State and its political subdivision.

In addition, the political activities of State employees whose employment is Federally financed, in whole or in part, may be further restricted by the federal Hatch Act [53 Stat. 1147].

Essentially, the Hatch Act bars State and local officers and employees from being candidates for public office in a partisan election, using official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination directly or indirectly coerce contributions from subordinates in support of a political party or candidate.

Although a public officer or employee may lawfully seek the nomination for such public office, he or she must resign from his or her public employment upon accepting the nomination.

CAUTION

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