Wednesday, February 01, 2023
A NOAA Employee Ignored the Hatch Act Repeatedly. It Took a Decade For Him to Be Fired. (Government Executive)
Keith Arnold, a NOAA accounting technician, repeatedly ran for Congress in Democratic primaries in Washington State, drawing few votes each time, while running afoul of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from seeking office for partisan races.
Mr. Arnold was repeatedly warned, but he persisted in his Hatch Act violations. It took some ten years to fire him.
Our U.S. Office of Special Counsel and an Administrative Law Judge with the Merit Systems Protection Board both did their jobs, recommending removal from the federal service for Hatch Act violations. Lacking a quorum for five (5) years, until 2022, the oxymoronic "Merit Systems Protection Board" finally ruled on his case on January 17, 2023.
Mr. Arnold, who was pro se, argued that the "top two" universal primary in Washington State's Eighth Congressional District converted a partisan race for Congress into a nonpartisan race. OSC, the ALJ and the MSPB all disagreed. Mr. Arnold is now fired after a decade of Hatch Act violations, unless the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reverses the decision.
From Government Executive: