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Political Activities

Policy number: P.4
Issued: MARCH 1989, Effective: MARCH 1989
Revised: SEPTEMBER 1, 1994, Effective: SEPTEMBER 1, 1994

Background:

The political activities of Cooperative Extension staff members are governed by federal and state law and ISU policy. Due to the unique position that staff occupy as a cooperative agency representing federal, state and county governmental agencies, careful judgment must be exercised with regard to political activities.

Policy statement:

The federal Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from participating in certain types of political and politically related activities. The Office of General Counsel, USDA has held that employees of the Cooperative Extension Service are not covered by the Hatch Act restriction concerning political activities. However, Cooperative Extension Service employees remain subject to the criminal restraints of the Hatch Act. They are codified in the following sections of U.S. Code, Chapter 18.

594 Intimidation of voters
595 Interference with nominations or elections
598 Coercion by means of relief appropriations
600 Promise of employment or other benefits for political activity
601 Deprivation of employment or other benefits for political activity
604 Solicitation from persons on relief
605 Disclosures of names of people on relief

As employees of Iowa State University, Cooperative Extension Service employees are governed by the laws of the State of Iowa. The following sections specifically relate to political activity: Ch. 19A.18, Ch. 721.3-6.

The ISU Office Procedure Guide contains information on candidates for partisan political office in section 3.24. The following additional guidance is provided for employees of ISU Extension:

1. The staff member will request advance approval of the vice provost or designee.

2. The staff member will request and be granted leave without pay.

3. The staff member will avoid using office time, telephone, equipment or supplies in connection with any political efforts.

4. The staff member will fulfill their public office assignment on their personal time which is interpreted to mean vacation and/or leave-without-pay.

5. The staff member will avoid the use of their position/ job/title to influence political activity.

Part-time Board of Regents employees (ISUE employees) can use the balance of their time to run for political office. However, since time spent at campaigning and at work can be misunderstood and misinterpreted by political opponents and the public at large, the ideal situation would be for the staff member to follow the same restrictions provided for full-time staff. Responsibility for fulfilling the job requirements of part-time employees while campaigning rests with the immediate supervisor and the area extension education director. Direct and close supervision beyond that normally provided is recommended in an attempt to protect extension's organizational interests.

Implementation Procedures:

There are no specific implementation procedures for this policy. Contact your Area Director if the decision is made to run for partisan political office.