[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                               September 26, 2008

Special guidelines apply to military 
for engaging in political activities

All Soldiers should be encouraged to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including participation in political activities.

Hatch Act sets rules for civilians to participate in political process

Much like Soldiers, federal civilian employees must ensure their political activities do not create a real or apparent conflict of interest with their official duties. Although civilian employees may take an active part in political activities, the extent and nature of this participation is limited by federal law ("Hatch Act") and implementing regulations.

     • Displaying a political sign, sticker, button, or similar material, but not while on duty, in a government office or building, or using a government vehicle or resources;
     • Serving as an election judge or clerk;
     • Driving voters to a polling place;
     • Attending, addressing, or being a featured guest at a fund-raiser (but you may not solicit contributions nor may your official title be included on the invitation or guest list); and
     • Managing or organizing a political fund-raiser that is hosted or sponsored by others (but you may not solicit contributions).

Not allowed:
     • Participating in a permitted political activity while on duty, while in a government office or building, or while using a government vehicle or resources;
     • Using their official title while participating in a permitted political activity;
     • Using their authority to coerce anyone into participating in a political activity;
     • Allowing the use of their official title in relation with political fund-raising; and
     • Hosting or sponsoring a political fund-raiser. (But an employee’s spouse may host or sponsor a fund-raiser and the employee may attend.)

These lists are not exhaustive. Questions or concerns from members of the Fort McCoy community regarding political activities and the federal work force should be directed to an ethics counselor at the Fort McCoy Installation Legal Office (608) 388-2165. More information regarding the Hatch Act can be found at the Web site http://www.osc.gov/hatchact.htm.

(Submitted by Fort McCoy Installation Legal Office.)

The political process is one of the things that makes the United States the greatest country in the world. So, if the political process is so important to democracy, and it is our duty to participate, then political activities should be welcome everywhere.

Wrong! Soldiers on active duty are under very definite restrictions/rules governing their political activities.

Members of the armed forces on active duty are subject to different rules than other citizens, published in Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 1344.10 and Army Regulation 600-20. 

The purpose of this Directive and Army Regulation is to ensure that active-duty servicemembers’ political activities are not viewed as directly or indirectly associating the DoD, the U.S. Army or Fort McCoy with partisan politics.

Soldiers may:

Soldiers on active duty may engage in limited political activities, including:

• Registering, voting, and expressing personal opinions, but not as a representative of the Army;
     • Encouraging others to exercise their voting rights;
     • Joining political clubs, and attending political meetings and rallies as a spectator when not in uniform;
     • Making monetary contributions to political organizations;
     • Signing petitions for specific legislative action;
     • Writing letters to the editor expressing personal views, but if the letter identifies the Soldier as belonging to the armed forces or on active duty, the letter must state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of DoD or the Army; and 
     • Displaying bumper stickers on private vehicles, provided that the bumper stickers are consistent with good order and discipline on the installation.
Soldiers may not:

Soldiers on active duty are, however, strictly prohibited from:
     • Running for partisan political offices;
     • Using their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election;
     • Soliciting votes for particular candidates or issues and soliciting political contributions;
     • Engaging in political activity while on duty;
     • Engaging in political activity while wearing an official uniform or displaying official insignias identifying the office or position of the DoD employee;
     • Displaying large political signs, banners or posters on private vehicles (bumper stickers are allowed);
     • Displaying a partisan political sign, banner, or poster at the Soldier’s residence on a military installation, including a residence that is part of a private housing development (i.e. 801 housing in Tomah);
     • Wearing political buttons on duty; or 
     • Engaging in political activities while using government-owned or leased vehicles or resources.

These lists are not exhaustive. Questions or concerns from personnel in the Fort McCoy community regarding political activities can be addressed to an ethics counselor at the Fort McCoy Installation Legal Office at (608) 388-2165.

(Submitted by Fort McCoy Installation Legal Office.)


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