Education Secy Loses Title for Fundraising Speech

Monday, 31 Oct 2011 11:42 AM

By Greg McDonald

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On a recent trip to California to raise money for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, Education Secretary Arne Duncan left his title behind in Washington — literally, in order to comply with the Hatch Act, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The act draws a strict line between government work done by executive branch employees and any partisan political activities in which they might engage.

Duncan spoke at a private home in the Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood, where he was introduced as “the honorable Arne Duncan,” not as education secretary. The invitation to the event also did not contain a reference to his Cabinet job.
 
The wording of both the fundraising invitation and the event introduction were dictated by guidelines of the Hatch Act, according to what the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the independent agency that oversees the law, told the L.A. Times.
 
A counsel spokesman told the newspaper Duncan was free, as are all Cabinet officials, to do fundraising and campaign events for the president in their own “personal capacity.”
 
Apparently, Duncan was a hit with the Brentwood folks. “Duncan is terrific,’’ the L.A. Times quoted one person who attended the fundraiser as saying. “He doesn’t do nearly as much as I’d like him to do on the campaign.’’

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