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    Federal workers "banned" from discussing Trump's impeachment

    Backlash as federal workers warned not to discuss Trump impeachment
    Unions and free speech advocates say official advice on expressing political opinions at work overly restricts dissent

    New guidance warning federal workers not to discuss Donald Trump’s potential impeachment or the so-called “resistance” movement has sparked controversy, with some ethics advocates voicing concerns over what they see as an effort to crack down on free speech and limit dissent.

    A memo released by the Office of Special Counsel last week clarified what constitutes political activity at the federal workplace, stemming from Trump seeking re-election as president in 2020.

    In addition to avoiding topics that might suggest views favorable or unfavorable toward Trump, the document stipulated “strong criticism or praise of a presidential administration’s policies and actions” also amount to political activity.

    The move prompted immediate backlash from government watchdogs and unions, who said the interpretation of political activity is too broad and exposes more than 2 million federal employees to undue risk and could hurt their free speech rights.

    “This guidance is a broad reach that employees may find confusing. It could unnecessarily have a chilling effect on employees’ first amendment free speech,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 federal employees in 33 departments and agencies.

    At issue is the Hatch Act, a law dating back nearly eight decades that was designed to prevent federal employees from engaging in partisan politics at work or while in their official capacity as civil servants. The law has long been enforced by the OSC, an independent federal agency unrelated to special counsel Robert Mueller and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    The office typically investigates complaints against employees accused of engaging in partisan activity at work, and can recommend disciplinary measures that could result in dismissal.

    Faced with criticism that its definition of political activity was too far-reaching, the OSC insisted there had been no substantive changes in how such scrutiny was being applied.

    The guidelines did not bar employees entirely from discussing what presidential conduct may warrant impeachment or sharing their thoughts on the matter, the office said. It noted that what would instead be inappropriate would be to advocate for – or against – the president’s impeachment while in the workplace.

    The reason behind the memo’s release, according to the OSC, were questions that arose from federal employees and ethics officers given the frequency of such conversations – particularly at a time when Trump would clearly be seeking re-election. In addition to impeachment and the idea of “resisting” Trump, the OSC noted that federal employees were prohibited from wearing, displaying or distributing items from Trump’s campaign, such as anything bearing his Make America Great Again slogan.

    Government watchdogs nonetheless saw a power grab; some made the case that talk of impeachment was not inherently linked to Trump’s re-election prospects, but instead a separate matter having to do with grounds for removal from office.

    “The OSC needs to stand down and recognize that the Hatch Act permits advocacy for and against Trump’s impeachment,” Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University who served as a government ethics lawyer in the DC attorney general’s Office, wrote in an op-ed this week.

    Others took issue with the notion that federal employees could not stake out a position for or against administration policy, which they said ignored the fact that some issues transcended politics.
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...hment-backlash

    We're really past the satire threshold at this point.

    There's more in the article, it's very long.
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  2. #2
    Trump is getting impeached? Did I miss something? There are a lot of free speech issues related to Trump administration policies, particularly relating to governmental scientists, but I'm not going to worry about federal employees not being allowed to talk about an event that hasn't happened yet.

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    No shit. We weren't allowed to talk abt it with obama either. As a federal worker, he is your boss. Also cant discuss anything abt elections.

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    Look up the hatch act. They use that broadly to limit a lot of what can even be talked abt at work

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ellieg View Post
    No shit. We weren't allowed to talk abt it with obama either. As a federal worker, he is your boss. Also cant discuss anything abt elections.

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    Look up the hatch act. They use that broadly to limit a lot of what can even be talked abt at work
    Yes the article goes into that quite a bit. The issue here (apart from the ridiculous hypocrisy of the Hatch Act muzzling regular workers while top Trump officials continue to flout it with no more than a tut-tut) is that the rolling constitutional crisis the US has been in since Trump fired Comey has transcended partisan politics. This is like if you weren't allowed to speculate on Nixon's impeachment during Watergate. It's a country-wide (planet-wide now) all-encompassing crisis, it's unreasonable to expect people not to talk about it.

    I don't think it's really comparable to tan-suit-gate during Obama's administration.

    Furthermore, the Hatch Act is intended to stop abuse of power by goverment officials to advance a partisan outcome. Colleagues talking about current events at work hardly counts as canvassing for a political party.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celista View Post
    Trump is getting impeached? Did I miss something? There are a lot of free speech issues related to Trump administration policies, particularly relating to governmental scientists, but I'm not going to worry about federal employees not being allowed to talk about an event that hasn't happened yet.
    I was debating if I needed "potential" in the title, but it was getting a bit crowded. It's in the article.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tojara View Post
    Look Batman really isn't an accurate source by any means
    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked View Post
    It is a fact, not just something I made up.

  5. #5
    The Undying Hubcap's Avatar
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    Government workers can't talk politics at work, it's been like that for decades. Federal employees being political at work caused problems in the past.

    Now that I think about it, federal employees can't campaign for an elected official, they might be able to talk politics, I doubt it though.
    Last edited by Hubcap; 2018-12-07 at 02:56 PM.

  6. #6
    The Unstoppable Force zenkai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mormolyce View Post
    Yes the article goes into that quite a bit. The issue here (apart from the ridiculous hypocrisy of the Hatch Act muzzling regular workers while top Trump officials continue to flout it with no more than a tut-tut) is that the rolling constitutional crisis the US has been in since Trump fired Comey has transcended partisan politics. This is like if you weren't allowed to speculate on Nixon's impeachment during Watergate. It's a country-wide (planet-wide now) all-encompassing crisis, it's unreasonable to expect people not to talk about it.

    I don't think it's really comparable to tan-suit-gate during Obama's administration.

    Furthermore, the Hatch Act is intended to stop abuse of power by goverment officials to advance a partisan outcome. Colleagues talking about current events at work hardly counts as canvassing for a political party.

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    I was debating if I needed "potential" in the title, but it was getting a bit crowded. It's in the article.
    But Trump isn't getting impeach (yet) there isn't even a process in placed it's all wishful thinking at this time, so it's not a current event, talking about it means you're trying to influence people to think he should. It's not rocket science.
    It's amusing people will still post at you even though you had them on ignore for months and never reply to them.
    Proof Elizabeth Warren lied about being Native American
    A Congress woman who doesn't know the 3 branches of Government.
    Let's have a fair and open minded debate, and put the rest on ignore. Ah, so peaceful

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    I get that but think abt it as a company. You are a lowly employee. You think your ceo is a prick. You talk abt how your ceo should be fired on company time. You're prob gonna get fired for that. I understand it's not exactly the same and it's a public position, but that's the gist of it.


    I actually am glad they have it. When I worked there, there was ppl with plenty of dif opinions. Nice ppl but politics is very polarizing. When the elections were ramping up it was causing intraoffice drama. We had a memo released in our department that reminded us of the hatch act. Then we kept our opinions to ourselves until we left the office.

    You are allowed to be political when you are off the clock as long as there is nothing in your message that makes it appear to be tied to the us gov.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hubcap View Post
    Government workers can't talk politics at work, it's been like that for decades. Federal employees being political at work caused problems in the past.

    Now that I think about it, federal employees can't campaign for an elected official, they might be able to talk politics, I doubt it though.
    Nonesense! Everyone knows this was a policy put in place by Trump to strip people's amendment rights and stop everyone from knowing he's getting impeached.

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    This isnt new though?
    READ and be less Ignorant.

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    Biting the hand that feeds you gets you in trouble, no shit lmao.
    “If you don't believe me that is too damn bad!”

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by zenkai View Post
    But Trump isn't getting impeach (yet) there isn't even a process in placed it's all wishful thinking at this time, so it's not a current event, talking about it means you're trying to influence people to think he should. It's not rocket science.
    And Nixon was never impeached.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tojara View Post
    Look Batman really isn't an accurate source by any means
    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked View Post
    It is a fact, not just something I made up.

  12. #12
    Trump sure does hate freedom of speech.
    Quote Originally Posted by Destroyer of Leftism View Post
    While I certainly support more sex for more people and don't think the old norms are viable, it's also become pretty obvious that leftists only support sexual freedom because they think it will spread STDs more, damage the family and damage society. Their intentions are not to spread more freedom, they just want people sick, hopefully dependent on their healthcare too.
    Yes, someone actually said that.

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