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US Postal Service broke law by allowing employees to campaign for Clinton ‒ report

US Postal Service broke law by allowing employees to campaign for Clinton ‒ report
An investigation found the US Postal Service broke the law when nearly 100 letter carriers took time to campaign for Hillary Clinton and “pro-worker candidates,” according to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), a federal agency that protects employees.

The OSC investigation and its subsequent report found 97 postal workers carried out campaign work last June, including door-to-door canvassing, phone banks and other get-out-the vote efforts endorsing Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, and other pro-union candidates, and was paid out of the union's political action fund.

The report said the USPS had “engaged in systemic violations” of the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits certain political activities of federal employees.

While federal employees are allowed to do some political work on leave, the report said the USPS showed a “bias favoring the union’s 2016 campaign operation.”

Among other findings were that 82 percent of the work took place in 2016 battleground states: Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Officials at multiple levels apparently were involved.

The investigation began after the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), brought constituent complaints to the OSC in October, according to the Milwaukee Journal Senintel.

The constituent was a USPS employee who was concerned the Postal Service was incurring “unnecessary overtime costs” and being “improperly coordinated” with the employees’ union, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).

The investigation found the NALC provided lists of letter carriers to participate in campaign activity to a senior headquarters USPS labor relations official, who then emailed the lists to other USPS officials across the country. Local officials were found to have “interpreted the communications as directives” from USPS headquarters.

The OSC investigation revealed the NALC-USPS practice is “long-standing, going back many election cycles, and perhaps started in the 1990s.”

We reject the OSC’s conclusions that the granting of LWOP (leave without pay) represents either a ‘systematic violation of the Hatch Act’ or an ‘institutional bias in favor of National Association of Letter Carriers’ (NALC) endorsed political candidates,” said Frederic Rolando, president of the NALC, adding that postal workers are encouraged to support political action committees on their own time.

The OSC recommended in the report that, going forward, USPS management should not require, direct or suggest local supervisors release union members to engage in political activity.