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Government and People
|Chairman Linda W. Cropp
A BILL IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Chairman Linda W. Cropp, introduced the following bill, which was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.
To prohibit District government employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, to authorize the Board of Elections and Ethics to review claims of violations of the proscription against political activity and to impose fines for violations or to refer cases to the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, to make it a misdemeanor for employees to solicit donations of money or other things of value in connection with an election campaign in a government facility and to authorize the Office of the Attorney General to prosecute criminal violators.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the "Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Act of 2006".
Sec. 2. Definitions.
For the purpose of this act, the
(a) "On duty" means - hours when an employee is scheduled to work and when an employee is not on annual leave, leave without pay, or working in a part-time status.
(b) "Partisan political office" means any office for which any candidate is nominated or elected as representing a party any of whose candidates are selected based on a political party, but does not include any office or position within a political party or affiliated organization.
(c) "Political activity" means any activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
(d)(1) "Political contributions" means any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value, made for any political purpose. This includes:
Sec. 3. Application of the act.
(a) This act shall apply to all employees of the District, including employees of independent agencies and instrumentalities, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) This act shall not apply to employees of the District of Columbia Courts, Members of the Council, or the Mayor.
Sec. 4. Prohibited political activity.
(a) No employee shall engage in political activity which includes the following:
(b) No employee may participate in political acitivity while:
Sec. 5. Permitted political activity.
During nonworking hours employees may:
Sec. 6. Supervising official prohibited conduct.
(a) No elected official or other employee may require an employee to make a political contribution.
(b) No supervising official shall solicit any contribution to or on behalf of an explorer or candidate for a partisan political office from any employee under the supervision of the supervising official.
(c) At no time shall a supervising official directly or indirectly coerce or attempt to coerce, command, or advise any other employee to pay, lend, or contribute any part of his or her salary, or any money, or anything else of value to any party, committee, organization, agency, or person for political purposes.
Sec. 7. Employees rights.
(a) Employment by the District does not affect any right or obligation of any employee under the Constitution and the laws of the United States or laws of the District.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this act, an employee may:
Sec. 8. Administrative enforcement.
(a) The Board of Elections and Ethics shall have the duty and power to make investigations on its own initiative or upon written complaint under oath by any individual, with respect to alleged violations of any provision of this act, and to hold hearings when it deems necessary to investigate violations.
(b) The Board of Elections shall have authority to levy a civil penalty not to exceed $2,000 for each violation. In addition, the Board shall have authority to revoke a person's eligibility to be appointed as an election monitor or in any capacity at the polls on the day of an election, primary or general, when the Board finds that the person has intentionally violated any provision of this act. The Board shall refer to the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia any case where there is evidence of a violation of section 9(a) for prosecution.
(c) Any employee who willingly and voluntarily violates this act shall be removed from their position, and funds appropriated for the position from which removed thereafter may not be used to pay the employee or individual, except where the Board finds by unanimous vote that the violation does not warrant removal, a penalty of not less than 30 days' suspension without pay shall be imposed by direction of the Board. The Board may also direct that the employee be demoted or subject to any other disciplinary action.
(d) The Board may adopt and promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of this act.
Sec. 9. Criminal enforcement.
(a) It shall be unlawful for an employee to solicit donations of money, services, or other things of value in connection with an election campaign in a government facility that is used for the discharge of official duties by an officer or employee of the District.
(b) Any violation of subsection (a) of this section shall be punishable as a misdemeanor by a fine of up to $2,500 for each violation or triple the amount of any improper payment or contributions received, whichever is greater, imprisonment of up to 180 days, or both.
(c) The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia shall have authority to prosecute under this section.
Sec. 10. Fiscal impact statement.
The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 602(c)(3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code §1-206.02(c)(3)).
Sec. 11. Conditional effective date.
This act shall take effect on the later of (1) completion of a 30-day period of Congressional review following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code §1-206.02(c)(1)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register; or (2) enactment by Congress of an act excluding the District of Columbia from the coverage of the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§7321-7326.
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