Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 11B. Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity.


§ 1–1171.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Board” means the District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government Accountability established by § 1-1162.02.

(2) “Candidate” means an individual who seeks nomination or election to any elective office in the District whether or not the person is elected. An individual is deemed to be a candidate if the individual has received political contributions or made expenditures or has consented to another person receiving contributions or making expenditures with a view to bringing about the individual’s nomination or election.

(3) “Employee” means:

(A) Any individual paid by the District government from grant or appropriated funds for his or her services or holding office in the District of Columbia, other than the following (if not otherwise employed by the District):

(i) Employees of the courts of the District of Columbia;

(ii) The Mayor;

(iii) The Attorney General;

(iv) The members of the Council;

(v) Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners;

(vi) Members of the State Board of Education; or

(vii) Members of the District of Columbia Statehood Delegation;

(B) A member of a board or commission who is nominated for a position pursuant to § 1-523.01(e); and

(C) A member of a board or commission who is nominated for a position pursuant to § 1-523.01(f), when the member is engaged in political activity that relates to the subject matter that the member’s board or commission regulates.

(4) “On duty” means the time period when an employee is:

(A) In a pay status other than paid leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, time off as an incentive award, or excused or authorized absence (including leave without pay); or

(B) Representing any agency or instrumentality of the District government in an official capacity.

(5) “Partisan” when used as an adjective means related to a political party.

(6) “Partisan political group” means any committee, club, or other organization that is regulated by the District and that is affiliated with a political party or candidate for public office in a partisan election, or organized for a partisan purpose, or which engages in partisan political activity.

(7) “Partisan political office” means any office in the District government for which any candidate is nominated or elected as representing a party any of whose candidates for Presidential elector received votes in the last preceding election at which Presidential electors were selected, but shall exclude any office or position within a political party or affiliated organization.

(8)(A) “Political activity” means any activity that is regulated by the District directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, partisan political group, ballot initiative, or referendum. For the purposes of § 1-1171.03, political activity is not limited to activities regulated by the District.

(B)(i) The Board may, by rule, define certain basic activities as nonpolitical activities.

(ii) The term “nonpolitical activities” shall include:

(I) Media inquiries;

(II) Answering questionnaires; and

(III) Scheduling.

(9)(A) “Political contribution” means:

(i) A gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money, or anything of value, made for any political purpose;

(ii) A contract, promise, or agreement, express or implied, whether or not legally enforceable, to make a contribution for any political purpose;

(iii) A payment by any person, other than a candidate or a political party or affiliated organization, of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to any candidate or political party or affiliated organization without charge for any political purpose; and

(iv) The provision of personal services, paid or unpaid, for any political purpose.

(B) The term “political contribution” shall not include the value of services provided without compensation by any individual on behalf of any candidate, campaign, political party, or partisan political group.

(10) “Political party” means a national political party, a State political party, or an affiliated organization that is regulated by the District.

(11) “Political purpose” means an objective of promoting or opposing a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group that is regulated by the District.


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-335, § 2, 58 DCR 599; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(a), 61 DCR 169; Aug. 19, 2017, D.C. Law 22-13, § 4, 64 DCR 6245.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-80 rewrote this section.

Cross References

Hatch Act retention, § 1-625.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4 of Primary Date Alteration Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-106, July 25, 2017, 64 DCR 7388).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4 of Primary Date Alteration Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-75, June 5, 2017, 64 DCR 6080).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).


§ 1–1171.02. Political activity authorized; prohibitions.

(a) An employee may take an active part in political management or in political campaigns; provided, that an employee shall not:

(1) Use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election;

(2) Knowingly solicit, accept, or receive a political contribution from any person, except if the employee has filed as a candidate for political office;

(3) File as a candidate for election to a partisan political office; or

(4) Knowingly direct, or authorize anyone else to direct, that any subordinate employee participate in an election campaign or request a subordinate to make a political contribution.

(b) The Mayor, the Attorney General, and each member of the Council may designate one employee while on leave to perform any of the functions described in subsection (a)(2) of this section; provided, that:

(1) The employee shall not perform the activities while the employee is on duty or in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties in the District government, including any agency or instrumentality thereof;

(2) Any designation pursuant to this subsection shall be made in writing by the Mayor and the Attorney General to the Secretary of the District of Columbia and by any member of the Council to the Secretary to the Council;

(3) Any designated employee shall file a report within 15 days of being designated and as otherwise required pursuant to § 1-1162.24; and

(4) The Mayor, the Attorney General, and the Council shall issue standards of conduct implementing this subsection.

(c) Repealed.


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-335, § 3, 58 DCR 599; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(b), 61 DCR 169; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 3094, 63 DCR 10775.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-80, substituted “§ 1-1162.24” for “§ 1-1106.02” in (b)(3); and repealed (c).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).


§ 1–1171.03. Political activities on duty; prohibition.

(a) An employee shall not engage in political activity:

(1) While the employee is on duty;

(2) In any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties in the District government, including any agency or instrumentality thereof;

(3) While wearing a uniform or official insignia identifying the office or position of the employee; or

(4) Using any vehicle owned or leased by the District of Columbia, including any agency or instrumentality thereof.

(b) An employee may not coerce, explicitly or implicitly, any subordinate employee to engage in political activity.

(c) For the purposes of this section, the term “political activity” is not limited to activities regulated by the District and includes soliciting, accepting, receiving, or making political contributions or other political activities.


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-335, § 4, 58 DCR 599; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(c), 61 DCR 169.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1171.01.

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-80 designated the existing text as (a); and added (b) and (c).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).


§ 1–1171.04. Enforcement.

A violation of this chapter shall constitute a violation of the Code of Conduct as defined in § 1-1161.01(7), and shall be enforceable by the Board in accordance with Chapter 11A of this title [§ 1-1161.01 et seq.].


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-335, § 5, 58 DCR 599; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(d), 61 DCR 169.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-80 rewrote this section.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(d) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(d) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(d) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).


§ 1–1171.05. Criminal penalties. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-335, § 6, 58 DCR 599; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(e), 61 DCR 169.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of this section, see § 2(e) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of this section, see § 2(e) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) repeal of this section, see § 2(e) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).


§ 1–1171.06. Rules.

The Board, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], may issue rules to implement the provisions of this chapter.


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-335, § 7, 58 DCR 599; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(f), 61 DCR 169.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-80 substituted “Board” for “Board of Elections and Ethics”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(f) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(f) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(f) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).


§ 1–1171.06a. Conforming amendment. [Omitted]

Omitted.


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a; as added Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(g), 61 DCR 169.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) addition of D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a, amending subdivision (7) of this section, see § 2(g) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) addition of D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a, amending subdivision (7) of this section, see § 2(g) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) addition of D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a, see § 2(g) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).

Editor's Notes

D.C. Law 18-335, § 7a, as added by D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(g), is codified as § 1-1161.01(7)(E-i).


§ 1–1171.07. Applicability.

(a) This chapter shall apply as of January 29, 2013.

(b) For an offense committed between January 29, 2013, and March 7, 2013, this chapter shall not be construed to prohibit any conduct that was proscribed under the federal Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. § 7321 et seq., or this chapter, or authorize any penalties that were not available before March 7, 2013.


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-335, § 8, 58 DCR 599; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-80, § 2(h), 61 DCR 169.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-80 rewrote (a), which formerly read “This chapter shall apply upon enactment by the Congress of an act excluding the District of Columbia from the coverage of 5 U.S.C. §§ 7321 through 7326 (Hatch Act)”; and rewrote (b), which formerly read “This chapter shall apply upon inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan”.

Cross References

Hatch Act retention, § 1-625.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(h) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-25, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3986, 20 DCSTAT 485).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(h) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-231, December 20, 2013, 61 DCR 3, 20 DCSTAT 2633).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(h) of the Prohibition on Government Employee Engagement in Political Activity Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-4, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4624, 20 DCSTAT 1268).

Editor's Notes

Congress enacted and the President signed Public Law 112-230 on December 28, 2012, excluding the District of Columbia from the coverage of 5 U.S.C. §§ 7321 through 7326 (Hatch Act).

Public Law 112-230 was approved December 28, 2012, satisfying the applicability requirement of subsection (a) of this section.

The Budget Director of the Council of the District of Columbia has determined that the fiscal effect of D.C. Law 18-335 has been included in an approved budget and financial plan.