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Dos and don'ts during this political season

Air Force graphic

Air Force graphic

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- To ensure that the Department of Defense does not influence our nation's electoral process, special ethics rules apply to both active duty members and civilian employees regarding political activities. Here is a quick list of the main "dos and don'ts" that you should be familiar with. For more in depth coverage of these rules, see AFI 51-902 and the Hatch Act (5 USCA 7324) or visit https://ice.usafe.af.mil/sites/48FW/DS/JA/General%20Law/Home.aspx?RootFolder

Active Duty Members

Do:

· Register, vote and express your opinions on political candidates and issues (including writing letters to newspaper editors) in a personal capacity but not as a representative of the Armed Forces
· Encourage other military members to exercise their voting rights, but don't encourage your subordinates to vote for or against a particular issue or candidate
· Contribute money to political organizations and candidates, if you choose
· Join a political club and attend political meetings and rallies when not in uniform
· Display a political sticker on your private vehicle

Don't:

· Use your official authority, influence or government resources, including e-mail, to interfere with an election, solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue, or solicit political contributions from others
· Attend a partisan political event as an official representative of the Armed Forces
· Speak at any gathering or participate in any radio, television or other program or group discussion as an advocate of a partisan political party or candidate
· Display a partisan political sign, poster or banner, visible to the public at your on-base house
Violations of AFI 51-902 are punishable under Art 92 of the UCMJ--failure to obey a lawful regulation.

Federal Employees

Do:

· Register, vote and express your opinions on political candidates and issues in a personal capacity
· Contribute money to political organizations and candidates
· Attend political fundraising functions
· Join and be an active member of a political party or club
· Campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections

Don't:

· Use your official authority, influence or government resources, including e-mail, to interfere with an election, solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue or solicit political contributions from others
· Solicit or discourage political activity of anyone doing business with your agency
· Solicit or receive political contributions
· Engage in political activity while on duty, in a government office, wearing an official uniform or using a government vehicle
· Wear partisan political buttons while on duty
Violations of the Hatch Act are grounds for disciplinary action.
Please direct any questions to the Legal Center at 226-3553.