Friday, October 19, 2012

IVN: Op-Ed:Should US Attorney Laura Duffy Resign over Conflict?

The Hatch Act is the Federal law prohibiting Federal employees from participating in elections. The “release” of the “private” email is a pretty transparent tactic to protect Duffy from charges that she has violated at least the spirit, if not the letter, of the Act.

But, the revelation that she also gave money to DeMaio is a smoking cannon. Laura Duffy is not just a federal employee; she is the U.S. Attorney. The issue isn’t that she violated the Hatch Act. The mayor’s race is technically nonpartisan and therefore exempt from the Hatch Act, but California now has nonpartisan Open Primaries. Meaning that, technically, the Hatch Act no longer applies to any California elections except that for President.
Yet, the U.S. Attorney’s office has, as recently as this summer, enforced the Hatch Act against an Orange County Social Services Agency employee who administered federal funds and had sought to run for office in Southern California. He was forced to withdraw, even after his name was placed on the ballot.

There is room for argument concerning rank and file federal employees and the question about how far away from the “electioneering” line they should stay. But, the U.S. Attorney has to enforce these laws. In this case, Duffy has not only crossed the line of appropriate behavior by participating in the election. She has added an element of sleaze to the story by participating in what appears to be an orchestrated leak of a “private” email clearly designed to benefit the candidate she has supported financially.

Read the full article here.

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