GSA Worker Suspended for Illegally Campaigning for Obama

Friday, 17 Aug 2012 05:52 PM

By Dan Weil

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A General Services Administration staffer has been suspended for campaigning for President Barack Obama from her government office while on duty, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel  announced Friday.

The employee, a contracting officer, invited 23 people to an Obama fundraiser during the 2008 campaign, violating the Hatch Act. She agreed to a settlement giving her a 30-day, unpaid suspension, The Hill reports.

The Hatch Act is designed to prevent government officials from working on political campaigns while they’re on duty or on government property. And it forbids government workers from soliciting or receiving political contributions.

This is yet another scandal for the agency that provides behind-the-scenes- services to government departments. Its inspector general reported earlier this year that a conference in Las Vegas rang up $823,000 in taxpayer expenses, including $146,527 for catered food, $6,325 for commemorative coins, and $75,000 for a cooperation-building exercise to build 24 bicycles.
 


After that report, two top GSA officials were fired, triggering a quick resignation by agency Administrator Martha Johnson and vociferous criticism from congressmen in both parties.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., praised the Special Council (OSC) statement Friday.

“The suspensions OSC announced make it clear there is a need to stay vigilant as the elections draw closer to ensure improper political activity is not occurring in the Executive Branch agencies,” Becca Watkins, a spokeswoman for Issa, said in a statement to The Hill.


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