Thursday, 27 August 2020

an act to prevent pernicious political activities

Passed in August of 1939 and amended most recently in 2012, the US federal law prohibits all government employees of the executive branch—with the exception of the president and vice president—from engaging in most forms of political activity and advocacy, the Hatch Act (see previously), named for the bill’s sponsor Democrat senator representing the state of New Mexico Carl Hatch (*1889 – †1963), was instigated by accusations by Republican members that the opposition party—Hatch’s own—were utilising employees of the Works Progress Administration (WPA, a New Deal recovery project to employ millions in public works and conservation activities to lift the US out of the Great Depression that followed World War I) as a political machine to influence elections, especially in swing-states like Tennessee and Kentucky. The main thrust of the law is to prevent intimidation or bribery of voters by office holder, the uniformed military and other authority figures and establish ethical norms—moreover precluding federal employees in general from aligning with extremist groups on the far left or the far right that advocates the overthrow of the government, specifically to discourage membership in the Communist Party and the German-American Bund.