Restrictions on Solicitation of Political Contributions
It is a violation of state law for a public employee to directly or indirectly solicit political contributions. The intention of this law is to insulate public employees from inappropriate political pressures and to ensure that employees do not use their public positions for personal or political gain.
This law applies to both direct and indirect solicitation and includes:
- a public employee asking any individual for a contribution on behalf of a political candidate or committee
- a public employee agreeing to sponsor or allow the use of one's name on an invitation to a fundraising event or on a fundraising request
- encouragement of any individual's contribution to a candidate for public or political office or to a political fundraising event
- distribution and selling of tickets to fundraisers
It is also a violation of state law for any individual to solicit a political contribution in a public building. Such solicitation includes the request for, or receipt of, a contribution and the distribution of fundraising letters or tickets.
Restrictions on Seeking Political Office
The prohibition on fundraising by public employees applies to a public employee's activities on behalf of the employee's own candidacy for public office. A public employee candidate who wishes to raise funds may do so through a political committee organized on behalf of the public employee. The fundraising prohibition makes it extremely difficult for a public employee to effectively run for a public office requiring major financial support.
State employees may not participate in political campaign activity during their usual business hours. Additionally, state employees may not use the facilities or property of the Commonwealth (such as offices, telephones, copying equipment, etc.) for political campaign activity. Political and campaign activity may be conducted by a state employee only during non-business hours, including usual lunch hour, vacation time, personal time, or a leave of absence without pay. Fundraising by a state employee may not occur at any time.
Restrictions on Participating in Partisan Political Activity
State employees whose employment involves programs or activities financed in whole or in part by the federal government are also subject to restrictions on their activity imposed by federal law. Such employees are prohibited by federal law from being a candidate for elective office in a partisan election or forcing another employee to contribute to a particular candidate. Under federal law, such employees may engage in partisan political campaigning under certain conditions, may be a candidate in a non-partisan election, may attend political conventions, may serve as a delegate or an alternate, and may perform volunteer work for a partisan candidate, committee, or party.