Monday, November 18, 2013

D.C.-Based Health Care Exchange May Have Engaged in Illegal Political Activity

DC Health Link logoOnline communications 
with OFA allegedly 
Hatch Act
A former chief White House ethics lawyer has filed a Hatch Act complaint against a D.C.-based health care exchange, alleging that its online communications with liberal activist group Organizing for Action (OFA) violated rules against federal political activity.
Richard Painter, who served as the chief ethics counsel under President George W. Bush, requested a federal investigation into DC Health Link in a Nov. 13 letter to the Office of Special Counsel’s Carolyn Lerner.
Painter says DC Health Link appears to be subject to the Hatch Act, which limits political activity by federal employees, because the health exchange was created by the D.C. government and is acting on its behalf. He noted that the exchange may have violated the Hatch Act after it promoted OFA’s pro-Obamacare activism on Twitter.
Painter said DC Health Link may have also violated the Hatch Act by “following” OFA’s D.C. twitter account and retweeting one of its messages on Nov. 8.
The Office of Special Counsel determined that federal agencies cannot “friend,” “like,” or “follow” political parties, partisan political campaigns or partisan political groups on social media platforms. Agencies are also restricted to posting content that is related to official business and politically neutral.
“The communications that I believe violated the Hatch Act were made on Twitter and all relate to Organizing for Action (“OFA”), formerly known as Organizing for America, an organization the [Office of Special Counsel] has specifically identified as a ‘partisan political group,’” wrote Painter.
Via: WFB
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